Atractaspis

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Atractaspis
Atractaspis engaddensis.jpg
Atractaspis engaddensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Atractaspididae
Genus: Atractaspis
A. Smith, 1849
Common names: burrowing vipers, burrowing asps, mole vipers,[1] more.

Atractaspis is a genus of venomous snakes found in Africa. Currently, 15 species are recognized by ITIS.[2] Others recognize 19 species.[3][4][5] 16 are listed here.

Common names[edit]

Burrowing vipers, burrowing asps, mole vipers, stiletto snakes, side-stabbing snakes.[1]

Geographic range[edit]

Found mostly in subsaharan Africa, with a limited distribution in Jordan vally in Palestine and the Arabian Peninsula.[1]

Description[edit]

Venom fangs enormously developed; a few teeth on the palatines, none on the pterygoids; mandibles edentulous anteriorly, with 2 or 3 very small teeth in the middle of the dentary bone. Postfrontal bone absent. Head small, not distinct from neck, covered with large symmetrical shields; nostril between 2 nasals; no loreal; eye minute, with round pupil. Body cylindrical; dorsal scales smooth, without apical pits, in 17 to 37 rows; ventrals rounded. Tail short; subcaudals either single or in two rows.[6]

Species[edit]

Species[2] Taxon author[2] Subspecies.*[2] Common name[1] Geographic range[1]
A. aterrima Günther, 1863 ———— slender burrowing asp Africa from Senegal and the Gambia east to DR Congo and Uganda.
A. battersbyi de Witte, 1959 ———— Battersby's burrowing asp Africa: Bolobo, on the Congo River basin, DR Congo.
A. bibronii A. Smith, 1849 ———— Bibron's burrowing asp Southern Africa, from central Namibia, east to northern South Africa, north to southeastern DR Congo, eastern Tanzania, coastal Kenya, and extreme southern coastal Somalia.
A. boulengeri Mocquard, 1897 matschiensis
mixta
schmidti
schultzei
vanderborghti
Central African burrowing asp Africa: the forests of the western Congo River basin.
A. coalescens Perret, 1960 ———— black burrowing asp Africa: Bangwa in southwestern Cameroon.
A. congica W. Peters, 1877 leleupi
orientalis
Congo burrowing asp Africa: from the mouth of the Congo River south to Angola, southeastern DR Congo and northern Zambia.
A. corpulenta (Hallowell, 1854) kivuensis
leucura
fat burrowing asp Africa: from Liberia to Ghana and from Nigeria eastwards to northeastern DR Congo.
A. dahomeyensis Bocage, 1887 ———— Dahomey burrowing asp Africa: from southwestern Cameroon, north and west through Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, northwestern Ivory Coast, southwestern Burkina Faso and south-central Mali.
A. duerdeni Gough, 1907 ———— Duerden's burrowing asp Africa in two isolated populations: one in north-central Namibia and one in southeastern Botswana and northern South Africa.
A. engdahli Lönnberg & Andersson, 1913 ———— Engdahl's burrowing asp Africa: southern Somalia and the lower Juba Valley northwest into northeastern Kenya.
A. engaddensis Haas, 1950 ———— En-Gedi asp Israel: Judean Desert.
A. irregularis (J.T. Reinhardt, 1843) angeli
bipostocularis
conradsi
parkeri
uelensis
variable burrowing asp Africa: from Liberia to Ghana, from Nigeria east to Uganda, southern Sudan, and western and central Kenya, and south to northeastern Tanzania, DR Congo and northwestern Angola.
A. leucomelas Boulenger, 1895 ———— Ogaden burrowing asp Africa: eastern Ethiopia, northwestern Somalia and Djibouti.
A. microlepidota Günther, 1866 andersonii
magrettii
small-scaled burrowing asp Africa: east from Senegal and Mauritania to Chad, southern and northeastern Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Also in the southwestern Arabian Peninsula.
A. reticulata Sjöstedt, 1896 brieni
heterochilus
reticulate burrowing asp Central Africa: from southern Cameroon, east to eastern DR Congo and south to Angola.
A. scorteccii Parker, 1949 ———— Somali burrowing asp Africa: eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia.

*) Not including the nominate subspecies.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa: Natural History, Species Directory, Venoms and Snakebite. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  2. ^ a b c d "Atractaspis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  3. ^ "Atractaspis ". Dahms Tierleben. www.dahmstierleben.de/systematik/Reptilien/Squamata/Serpentes/colubroidea/lamprophiidae/Atractaspidinae.
  4. ^ http://www.reptile-database.org.
  5. ^ Wikispecies.
  6. ^ Boulenger GA. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History), Volume III., Containing the ... Viperidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Genus Atractaspis, pp. 510-511, Figure 36).

Further reading[edit]

  • Branch, Bill. 2004. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Third Revised edition, Second impression. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 399 pp. ISBN 0-88359-042-5. (Genus Atractaspis, pp. 61-62).

External links[edit]