Shaw's dark ground snake

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Shaw's dark ground snake
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Dipsadidae
Genus: Erythrolamprus
Species: E. melanotus
Binomial name
Erythrolamprus melanotus
(Shaw, 1802)[1]
  • L. m. melanotus (Shaw, 1802)
  • L. m. lamari Dixon & Michaud, 1992
  • L. m. nesos Dixon & Michaud, 1992
  • Coluber melanotus Shaw, 1802
  • Coluber (Natrix) raninus
    Merrem, 1820
  • Coluber vittatus Hallowell, 1845
  • Liophis melanonotus Cope, 1860
  • Dromicus melanotus
    Garman, 1887
  • Lemiadophis melanotus
    Barbour, 1916
  • Aporophis crucifer Ahl, 1925
  • Leimadophis melanotus
    Amaral, 1929
  • Liophis melanotus
    Schwartz & Henderson, 1991[2]

Shaw's dark ground snake or Shaw's black-backed snake (Erythrolamprus melanotus) is a species of colubrid snake endemic to northern South America.[3]


It grows up to a total length (body plus tail) of 43 cm (17 in).[3]

Dorsally, it has a light yellow or pinkish color, with a wide, dark vertebral stripe,[3] which is bordered on each side by a thin whitish stripe, followed by a thin dark stripe. The top of the head is olive, and there is a dark stripe passing through the eye. The upper labials and the venter (underside) of the snake are whitish.[4]

The dorsal scales are smooth, with apical pits, and are arranged in 17 rows at midbody.[4]

Behavior & diet[edit]

It actively forages during the day for food, which may include fish, amphibians, and lizards.[3]

Geographic range[edit]

Its distribution includes Colombia, Venezuela,[5] and Trinidad and Tobago. It is probably extirpated from Grenada.[3]


  1. ^ ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System).
  2. ^ The Reptile Database.
  3. ^ a b c d e Malhotra, Anita; Thorpe, Roger S. (1999), Reptiles & Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean, Macmillan Education Ltd. London. ix + 134 pp. (Liophis melanotus, p. 108.), ISBN 0-333-69141-5 
  4. ^ a b 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. (Liophis melanotus, p. 134.)
  5. ^ Freiberg, M. 1982. Snakes of South America. T.F.H. Publications. Hong Kong. 189 pp. ISBN 0-87666-912-7. (Dromicus melanotus, p. 95.)

Further reading[edit]

  • Dixon, J.R., and E.J. Michaud. 1992. Shaw's black-backed snake (Liophis melanotus) (Serpentes: Colubridae) of Northern South America. Journ. Herpetology 26 (3): 250-259. (Liophis melanotus lamari & Liophis melanotus nesos)
  • Schwartz, A., and R. Thomas. 1975. A Check-List of West Indian Amphibians and Reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 216 pp. (Dromicus melanotus, p. 182.)
  • Shaw, G. 1802. General Zoology, or Systematic Natural History, Vol. III., Part II. G. Kearsley. London. vii + pp. 313–615. (Coluber melanotus, p. 534.)

External links[edit]