Leptophis ahaetulla

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Leptophis ahaetulla
Leptophis ahaetulla.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Leptophis
Species: L. ahaetulla
Binomial name
Leptophis ahaetulla
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Leptophis ahaetulla, commonly known as the lora or parrot snake, is a species of medium-sized slender snake of the Colubridae family.[3] It is endemic to Central America and northern South America.[4]



Adults may attain a total length of 172 cm (68 in), which includes a tail 59 cm (23 in) long.[2]

Dorsally, Leptophis ahaetulla is bright green, golden, or bronzy. The keels of the dorsal scales are black or dark brown. The head shields and the dorsal scales may be edged with black. On each side of the head is a black streak which passes through the eye. The upper lip and the belly are white or yellow. The species is not venomous. [2]

The head is elongated and distinct from the neck. The eye is large with a round pupil. The body is slender, and the tail is long.[2]

The dorsal scales are arranged in 15 rows at midbody, and are strongly keeled except in the first row on each side (the row adjacent to the ventrals), where they are smooth. They are also smooth on the neck and tail.[2]

Ventrals 151-167, strongly angulate at the sides; anal plate divided; subcaudals 140-173, divided.[2]

The loreal scale is absent, and the prefrontals extend through the loreal region to contact the upper labials. There are usually 2 postoculars, and the temporals are 1 + 2. There are 8-9 upper labials, of which the 4th & 5th (or 5th & 6th) enter the eye. The anterior chin shields are shorter than the posterior chin shields.[2]


Leptophis ahaetulla nigromarginatus (black-skinned parrot snake), Amazon Rainforest, near Nauta, Peru, 2011

Leptophis ahaetulla has currently 12 recognized subspecies, including the nominotypical subspecies:[6]


It feeds on lizards, frogs, and small birds.


  1. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Boulenger, G.A. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, Printers.) London. xi + 382 pp. + Plates I.- XX. (Leptophis, pp. 105-107; and Leptophis liocercus, pp. 113-114.)
  3. ^ Lawson, R; Slowinski, JB, Crother, BI, Burbrink, FT (2005). "Phylogeny of the Colubroidea (Serpentes): New evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear genes" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 581–601. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.016. PMID 16172004. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  4. ^ Boos HEA (2001). The snakes of Trinidad and Tobago. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. ISBN 1-58544-116-3. 
  5. ^ http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species.php?genus=Leptophis&species=ahaetulla&search_param=%28%28taxon%3D%27Colubrinae%27%29%29
  6. ^ Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist

Further reading[edit]

  • Freiberg, M. 1982. Snakes of South America. T.F.H. Publications. Hong Kong. 189 pp. ISBN 0-87666-912-7. (Leptophis ahaetulla, pp. 80, 101, 133 + photograph on p. 54.)
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Decima, Reformata. L. Salvius. Stockholm. 824 pp. ("Coluber Ahætulla", p. 225.)