Psammophis notostictus


Common Names Karoo Sand Snake or Whip Snake, Karoo-sweepslang
Synonym Psammophis moniliger var. notostictus PETERS 1867: 237
Psammophis notostictus MATSCHIE — STERNFELD 1910: 56
Psammophis notostictus — FITZSIMONS & BRAIN 1958
Psammophis notostictus — AUERBACH 1987: 166
Psammophis notostictus — BAUER et al. 1995: 73 
Distribution Namibia, S Angola, Republic of South Africa (Cape, S OFS), Botswana
Type locality: Otjimbingue, Namibia [by implication]

Reptile Atlas of Southern Africa: click to find distribution

Types Syntypes: ZMB 5756 (2 specimens) 
Comment An active slender snake, attaining a maximum of 3 feet in length (1 m). Feeds mainly on lizards; egg-laying.

Description.—(237 specimens examined). Nostril pierced between 3 nasals, the upper posterior with a posterior prolongation; preoculars 2 (rarely 1), usually in contact with frontal; postoculars 2 (very rarely 3); temporals basically 2+2+3, but with frequent fusions; supralabials 8 (very rarely 7 or 9), the fourth & fifth (rarely third & fourth) entering orbit; infralabials 9-12 (usually 10), the first 4 (rarely 3 or 5) in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 17-17-13 rows; ventrals 155- 183; cloacal shield entire; subcaudals 76-107. Brandstätter (1995, Fig. 54, 55) has published SEM micrographs of a dorsal scale from NMZB 5483 from the Eastern Cape Province. Light grey to dark brown above, often paler laterally, uniform or with a pale stripe or series of spots on the vertebral scale row and a pale stripe on row 4, these stripes may be bordered by black flecks. The head shields may have pale margins, with a pair of pale blotches on the parietals. A white ventrolateral stripe covers the lower half of the outer scale row and ends of the ventrals, extending forward onto the labials, pre- and post-oculars. Chin and throat white with grey or black spots and streaks. Venter yellowish, more or less infuscated with grey and with a grey line bordering the white ventrolateral stripe [from BROADLEY 2002]. 
  • Auerbach,R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • BATES, M.F. 2010. Psammophis notostictus (Peters 1867) Diet Afr. Herp News (52): 11-13
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Branch, William R. & Haacke, Wulf D. 1993. The herpetofauna of the Kamanjab area and adjacent Damaraland, Namibia. Madoqua (Windhoek), 18 (2): 117-145.
  • Bauer,A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Branch, W.R. 1992. Life History Notes - Psammophis notostictus Jour. Herp. Ass. Afr. (41): 43-43 - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, D.G. 1975. A review of Psammophis leightoni and Psammophis notosticus in southem Africa (Serpentes: Colubridae). Arnoldia 7 (13): 1-17
  • Broadley, D.G. 2002. A review of the species of Psammophis Boie found south of Latitude 12° S (Serpentes: Psammophiinae). African Journal of Herpetology 51 (2): 83-119 - get paper here
  • de Witte, G. F. 1933. Reptiles récoltés au Conge Belge par le Dr. H. Schouteden et par M. G.-F. Witte. Ann. Mus. Conge belge Zool. Ser. 1 Tome III: 53-100.
  • FitzSimons, V.F.M. 1974. A field guide to the snakes of Southern Africa. 2nd edition. COLLINS, 221 pp. [first ed. 1970]
  • Fitzsimons, V.F.M.; Brain, C.K. 1958. A Short account of the Reptiles of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. Koedoe, 1(1): 99-104 - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1867. Über eine Sammlung von Flederthieren und Amphibien aus Otjimbingue in Südwestafrica, welche Hr. Missionär Hahn dem zoologischen Museum zugesandt hat. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1867 (April): 234-237 - get paper here
  • Shine, Richard; William R. Branch, Jonathan K. Webb, Peter S. Harlow, and Terri Shine 2006. Sexual Dimorphism, Reproductive Biology, and Dietary Habits of Psammophiine Snakes (Colubridae) from Southern Africa. Copeia 2006 (4): 650-664 - get paper here
  • Sternfeld, R. 1910. Zur Schlangenfauna Deutsch-Südwestafrikas. Mehrere Fälle von Mimikry bei afrikanischen Schlangen. Mitt. zool. Mus. Berlin, 5: 51-60

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