Monday, June 27, 2016

Black Cribo or Mussurana, Clelia clelia (Family Dipsadidae)

By Geoff Gallice ( -, CC BY 2.0,

Coluber clelia Daudin 1803: 330
Brachyruton cloelia — Duméril, Bibron & Duméril 1854: 1007
Oxyrhopus clelia — Cope 1878: 33
Oxyrhopus cloelia — Garman 1884: 19
Pseudoboa cloelia - Serié 1921
Clelia clelia clelia - Dunn 1944
Clelia clelia groomei Greer 1965
Size: 1.5 m, exceeds 2 meters; hatchlings 230 mm; tail 24% of SVL.

Distribution. Currently considered a widespread species in Central America fro Honduras southward to Panama and into South America as far south as northeast Argentina. 

 Identification: Black with white belly, 19 scale rows at mid-body, reduced to 17 rows in front of the vent, a single anal plate, and divided subcaudal scales. Juveniles have a black head, a white or yellow collar and a red body with each scale containing a black spot. Perhaps most easily confused with its close relative Pseudoboa neuwiedii which has the juvenile coloration seen in this species. But Pseudoboa has single subcaudal scales, and another close relative Oxyrhopus petola which can be solid black has a loreal scale that is about as wide as it is long; Clelia's loreal scale is greatly elongated. Rostral visible from above; nasal divided; one preocular, loreal present in two Trinidad specimens (maybe absent); two postoculars; seven upper labials; six to eight lower labials; ventrals 218−225; cloacal plate single; 62−76  paired subcaudals. Dorsal scales smooth

 Habitat: Terrestrial, inhabits forests and savannas, often near water.Biology:  Nocturnal. Diet: almost exclusively ectotherms, subdued with a combination of venom and constriction; includes: Ameiva, Boa, Bothrops, Corallus, and Spilotes. Mammals may also be eaten, including opossums. Eggs number 16−40. Other common names: Vidua, Black cribo, Cribo, Mustarungua, Vidue.

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