Friday, June 24, 2016

Checkered-bellied Snake, Siphlophis cervinus (Family Dipsadidae)

Coronella cervina Laurenti 1768: 88.

Siphlophis cervinus cervinus — Beebe 1946: 42.

Ranges from Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad eastward to the Guianas and Brazil and southward to Bolivia and Peru. A poorly known, highly secretive, nocturnal snake that specializes in feeding on lizards. Size: 634 mm SVL, 173 mm tail; tail 27−32% of the SVL; maximum TL 1.3 m. A very distinctive serpent with a wide head and slender body, a pink to red vertebral stripe, with yellow and black bars on the sides of the body. Rostral visible from above with rounded edge; nasals single; elongate, single loreal; one preocular; two postoculars; 7–9 upper labials; 8–9 lower labial, fourth and fifth enlarged; 240–273 ventrals; anal plate single; 97–116 paired subcaudals. Smooth dorsal scales in 19 rows at mid-body, reduced to 15–17 posteriorly. Dorsum pink to red; head and nape red scales with black-edges; black collar present; black bars, spots, or chevrons distributed over the dorsum and separated by yellow or white with scales that are black tipped; venter and first and second scale rows yellow or white with black spots or bars, giving the underside a checkered appearance. Arboreal in forest and forest-edge habitats. Known to produce clutches of 3-6 eggs.

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