|Genus||Kladirostratus gen. nov. Conradie, Keates & Edwards 2018
Proposed common group name: Branch's Beaked Snakes.
|Type species||Psammophis acutus Günther 1888|
|Etymology||The name Kladirostratus is derived from the combination of the Greek word κλάδος (klados) meaning “branch,” and the Latin word “rostratus” meaning beaked. The name honors Professor William R. Branch (1947–2018), Curator Emeritus of herpetology at Port Elizabeth Museum, in recognition of his many contributions to the herpetology of Africa, especially regarding snakes. The name is masculine in gender.|
|Generic diagnosis||The rostral bones are weakly braced by the nasals, with only a single contact between nasal and frontal (well developed in Rhamphiophis with a double nasal‐frontal contact and the prefrontal extensively overlaps the nasal; lacking in Psammophylax); higher number of dentary teeth (21–24 vs 15–19 in Psammophylax and 15–18 in Rhamphiophis); acutely pointed snout (hooked in Rhamphiophis and rounded in Psammophylax). Average sequence divergence of Kladirostratus from Psammophylax species is 13.73 ± 0.85% and 13.29 ± 0.45% for cyt b and ND4, respectively.`|
|Generic description||Shortened skull with rostral bones weakly braced by the nasals, with only a single contact between nasal and frontal. The maxilla bears 9–13 subequal teeth that increase in size gradually anteriorly, separated by a small diastema from two enlarged grooved fangs on the posterior end of the bone; palatine teeth 7–11; pterygoid 9–18; dentary 21–24. Snout short and acutely pointed, rostral tetrahedral. Eight upper labials with 4th and 5th entering the orbit; 9–10 (rarely 11) lower labials with the first 4–5 in contact with the anterior sublinguals; one or two preoculars, usually separated from the frontal; 2 (rarely 3) postoculars; temporals 2 + 3 (rarely 1 + 2, 2 + 2, 2 + 4, 1 + 3, 3 + 4). Body rounded and smooth; dorsal scales smooth, with single apical pits; 17 scale rows at midbody; total ventrals + subcaudals 216–275; paired subcaudals 58–80 (males) and 53–71 (females), anal shield divided. Maximum size 1,077 mm total length (males) and 1,055 mm total length (females). Hemipenis short and smooth. Two longitudinal dorsolateral stripes, one on each side of body extending from the front of the head through the eye to the base of the tail; a thin black ventrolateral stripe is characteristic of togoensis.|
|Species in the genus||Kladirostratus acutus (Günther 1888) comb. nov. including the
currently recognized subspecies Kladirostratus a. acutus and
Kladirostratus a. jappi (Broadley, 1971);
Kladirostratus togoensis (Matschie 1893) comb. nov. The latter is provisionally included by Keates e.a. 2019 in this genus based on morphological similarities, but this requires confirmation through molecular phylogenetic analysis.