Psammophis (Dromophis) lineatus (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL, 1854)


Identification The Lined olympic snake can be identified by the three yellow or green stripes down its length and its mostly aquatic and diurnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 80 cm and a maximum length of 1 meter. (1)

See also http://www.bio-ken.com/index.php/reptiles-and-amphibians/snakes/item/striped-swamp-snake?category_id=30

Trape & Mane (2000):

Loveridge 1955:

Broadley 1959: "Data of unique specimen. Midbody scale rows 17; ventrals 149); anal divided; subcandals ?; upper labials 8, the fourth and fifth entering the orbit; first four lower labials in contact with the anterior sublinguals; preocular l; postoculars 2; temporals 1+2."

Broadley 1959: "Colouration. Head dark brown above, two light hair-lines crossing back of head; pre- and postoculars yellow; upper labials and chin greenish white. Body grey-brown above; the vertebral scale row lighter, the next three rows edged with black, then a faint lighter stripe merging into grey-brown below; the outer row of scales edged with the black above and yellowish-white below. Ventrals yellowish-white, a black transverse marking at the end of each ventral for the anterior two-thirds of the body. Subcaudals bluish-white.
Size. (NM/M.529) 705+ (600+105+) mm. from Nampini."


Etymology Named after Latin “linea”, meaning stripe or line. 'Lined', 'striped'.
Common Names Gestreepte moerasslang [Afrikaans] (1); Lined olympic snake (1); Olympic lined snake; Gestreifte Sumpfschlange (4)
Synonym Kelly (2008): "The two species of Dromophis occupy divergent positions deeply nested within Psammophis, and we therefore relegate Dromophis to the synonymy of Psammophis." This was confirmed in Vidal e.a. 2008.

List (4):
Dryophylax lineatus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1124
Dromophis lineatus BOULENGER 1895: 33
Dromophis lineatus - SCHMIDT 1923: 110
Dromophis lineatus - AUERBACH 1987: 165
Dromophis lineatus - BROADLEY 1998
Dromophis lineatus - TRAPE & MANÉ 2000
Dromophis lineatus - BROADLEY & COTTERILL 2004
Psammophis lineatus - KELLY et al. 2008
Dromophis lineatus - LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 544 


Map from The Reptile Database.

"This snake species is restricted to the Caprivi strip, South Africa, where it inhabits waterside vegetation" (1).

"This swamp-dwelling species reaches its southern limit in the Kazungula area. It has been recorded from
Kalabo." (3) See map:

Food Eats frogs, rodents (e.g. rats and mice) and possibly other snakes (1)
Broadley 1959: "This snake was swallowing a rat when it was shot by Mr. M. P. Stuart Irwin on the bank of the Zambezi."
Habitat Waterside vegetation (1)
"Found in close association with marshlands and swamps." (4)

Sierra Leone: "Nine specimens from seven localities (Bonthe, Kahala, Kpuabu. Magburaka, Makeni, Newton. Njala), mostly in the northern part of the country. The stomach of one contained another snake, too far digested to identify" (Menzies 1966).

Broadley 1959:
"Diet. This snake was swallowing a rat when it was shot by Mr. M. P. Stuart Irwin on the bank of the Zarnbezi.
Distribution. This is the most southernly specimen yet recorded. Mr. Irwin suggests that the distribution of this species may, like that of some bird species, be linked with the Papyrus swamps, which do not extend downstream below Nampini. Extralimitally this snake may occur in the swamps of the Chobe River, the border of Bechuanaland and the Caprivi Strip."

Longevity Likely to have an average lifespan of 10 years. (1)
ILO "Extrabuccal infralabial secretion outlets (ILOs), periodically absent and heretofore non-described, have been found in nineteen species representing three of the eight psammophine snake genera." Among these is Dromophis. "The newly found infralabial outlets, however, serve for direct chemical marking of conspecifics. This direct marking seems to substitute for a function of both the special nasal gland and the cloacal scent glands during social activity of the snakes in trees or shrubs." (2)
Predators, parasites and disease Eaten by other snakes (particularly vine snakes), birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles) (1)
Reproduction Oviparous (egg-laying), usually lays between 6 and 9 eggs in summer. (1)
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  • Duméril, A. M. C., BIBRON, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
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  • Auerbach,R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
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  • Haagner,G.V.; Branch,W.R. & Haagner,A.J.F. 2000. Notes on a collection of reptiles from Zambia and adjacent areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Annals of the Eastern Cape Museum 1: 1 – 25
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  • Hughes, Barry 2004. Misidentification of Dromophis lineatus (Dumèril & Bibron, 1854) as Psammophis sibilans (Linnè 1758) and the perpetuation of error. African Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 63-76 - get paper here
  • Chirio, Laurent and Ivan Ineich 2006. Biogeography of the reptiles of the Central African Republic. African Journal of Herpetology 55(1):23-59.
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  • Kelly, Christopher M.R.;Nigel P. Barker, Martin H. Villet, Donald G. Broadley and William R. Branch 2008. The snake family Psammophiidae (Reptilia: Serpentes): Phylogenetics and species delimitation in the African sand snakes (Psammophis Boie, 1825) and allied genera. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 47 (3): 1045-1060 - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. 2009. Inventaire des reptiles de la région de la Réserve de Biosphère Transfrontalière du W (Niger/Bénin/Burkina Faso: Afrique de l’Ouest). [Herpetological survey of the W Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve area (Niger/Benin/Burkina Faso: West Africa] Bull. Soc. Herp. France (132): 13-41 - get paper here
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  • Segniagbeto G. H., Trape J. F., David P., Ohler A., Dubois A. & Glitho I. A. 2011. The snake fauna of Togo: systematics, distribution and biogeography, with remarks on selected taxonomic problems. Zoosystema 33 (3): 325-360. DOI: 10.5252/z2011n3a4 - get paper here
  • Menzies, J.I. 1966. The snakes of Sierra Leone. Copeia 1966 (2): 169-179. - read paper here




(1) http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org

(2) De Haan 2003. Extrabuccal infralabial secretion outlets in Dromophis, Mimophis and Psammophis species (Serpentes, Colubridae, Psammophiini). A probable substitute for ‘self-rubbing’ and cloacal scent gland functions, and a cue for a taxonomic account. C. R. Biologies 326 (2003) 275–286

(3) http://www.zamsoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Wetlands-Phase-2-Volume-IIc-Chap-6-Herps-Part-2.pdf

(4) The Reptile Database