Wednesday, August 29, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Telescopus pulcher • New Records of One of the Least Known Snakes (Squamata: Colubridae) from the Horn of Africa

Telescopus pulcher (Scortecci, 1935)

in Mazuch, Šmíd, Price, et al., 2018. 

Telescopus pulcher is an enigmatic colubrid snake only known from the holotype and paratype specimens described from ‘Migiurtinia’ in Puntland (Somalia) in 1935. Herein we recorded the third and fourth-ever known specimens of this species from the Toon village, Woqooyi Galbeed Region, and 15 km southeast of Sheikh, Saahil Region, Somaliland. The species is endemic to Somaliland and adjoining parts of Ethiopia and Puntland. Data on morphology and natural history, as well as the first photographs of live specimens are provided. We also provide a detailed description of the paratype. The coloration of the species resembles that of the vipers of the genus Echis and we hypothesize that T. pulcher mimics these common and sympatric vipers in the Horn of Africa.

 Keywords: Reptilia, Distribution, Somaliland, Migiurtinophis, Somalia, Tarbophis, Migiurtinia, Echis, Batesian mimicry

Photograph of live Telescopus pulcher. the juvenile (NMP 75609) from 15 km southeast of Sheikh, Somaliland.  

 Tomáš Mazuch, Jiří Šmíd, Thomas Price, Petra Frýdlová, Ahmed I. Awale, Hassan S. A. Elmi and Daniel Frynta. 2018. New Records of One of the Least Known Snakes, Telescopus pulcher (Squamata: Colubridae) from the Horn of Africa. Zootaxa. 4462(4); 483–496. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4462.4.2

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