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1 September 2014 Systematics of the Neotropical Snake Dendrophidion paucicarinatum (COPE), with a Description of its Hemipenis (Serpentes: Colubridae)
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Abstract

We present the first modern comprehensive systematic treatment of the Central American snake Dendrophidion paucicarinatum (Cope). We redescribe the species on the basis of a large sample from throughout its range, redescribe and illustrate the holotype, and provide a detailed treatment of its hemipenial morphology. Dendrophidion paucicarinatum is distinguished from other species of the genus by a combination of having more ventrals (>175), fewer subcaudals (<140), very weak keels on the dorsal scales, and distinct transverse dark lines across each ventral in adults. It is an upland species found almost exclusively above 1,000 m in mountainous regions of Costa Rica and western Panama, primarily in premontane and montane humid to wet forests and cloud forests. It is a large species attaining a total length of 1.5 m and is diurnal and anurophagous like other species of Dendrophidion. Known clutch sizes are 3–12. Evidence from the Monteverde region in Costa Rica suggests that populations of D. paucicarinatum declined after collapse of the frog fauna due to epidemic disease (chytridiomycosis). The hemipenis of D. paucicarinatum is similar to those of most other species of Dendrophidion in having reduced calycular structures and a largely nude apex; the sulcus spermaticus is centrolineal and undivided. The spinose region is delimited distally by a uniform row of distinctly enlarged spines, which is a character shared with D. dendrophis (sensu lato) and three species of the D. nuchale species complex, although these species are not thought to be closely related to D. paucicarinatum.

Key words: Costa Rica, Panama, systematics, Central America, Dendrophidion, snakes, hemipenis, morphology

Presentamos el primer estudio sistemático moderno de la serpiente centroamericana Dendrophidion paucicarinatum (Cope). Describimos de nuevo la especie en base de muchos ejemplares desde toda la distribución, redescribimos y ilustratamos el holotipo, y proveemos una descripción detallada de la morfología del hemipene. Dendrophidion paucicarinatum es una especie de tierras altas encontrada casi exclusivamente arriba de 1,000 m de elevación en las regiones montañosas de Costa Rica y Panama occidental, primariamente en los bosques lluviosos premontanos y montanos y bosques nubosos. Es una especie grande que alcanza una larga total hasta 1.5 m. Es diurna y anurofaga como otras especies de Dendrophidion. El número de huevos por puesta es 3–12. Observaciones desde la región de Monteverde en Costa Rica sugeren que la declinación de las poblaciones de D. paucicarinatum resulta del desplome de la anurofauna debido a enfermedad epidémica (chitridiomicosis). El hemipene de D. paucicarinatum es similar a la mayoría de otras especies de Dendrophidion al tener estructuras calyculares reducidas y un ápice mayormente nudo; el sulco espermático es centrolineal y no bifurcado. La región espinosa se limita distalmente por una fila uniforme de espinas distintamente agrandadas. Este último se comparte con D. dendrophis (sensu lato) y tres especias del complejo D. nuchale, aunque estas especies no se piensen relacionadas cercanamente a D. paucicarinatum.

Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard
John E. Cadle and Jay M. Savage "Systematics of the Neotropical Snake Dendrophidion paucicarinatum (COPE), with a Description of its Hemipenis (Serpentes: Colubridae)," Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 161(4), (1 September 2014). https://doi.org/10.3099/MCZ15.1
Published: 1 September 2014
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