A Systematic Study of the Neotropical Vine Snake




Keiser Jr., Edmund D.

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Texas Memorial Museum, The University of Texas at Austin


Oxybelis aeneus is an elongated, slender-bodied vine snake that occurs at low to moderate and occasionally higher elevations throughout most of the Neotropical Region. The nomenclatural history of Oxybelis aeneus is reviewed. The name Dryinus aeneus Wagler 1824 is given priority over Coluber acuminatus Wied 1824, primarily on the basis of a footnoted reference to the volume containing Wagler's description in a March 1824 publication of Spix and Martius. Synonyms are discussed and the present locations of extant holotypes are given. Analyses of geographic, ontogenetic, sexual, and individual variation are presented for scuteliation, head and body measurements, dentition, certain cranial bones, hemipenes, and color pattern. Bogert and Oliver's (1945) concept of two subspecies, O. aeneus aeneus and 0. aeneus auratus, based on the relative proportions of eye diameter and internasal scale length is examined. The means for the ratios of these measurements change clinally (both ontogenetically and geographically) with the length of the snout, and the ratio itself is insufficiently diagnostic in North American and South American populations. Few other characters examined are geographically unique and most are subject to a high degree of individual variation. No subspecies are recognized.


Contents: Abstract -- Introduction -- Materials and Methods -- Systematic Account -- Types and Type Localities -- Taxonomy -- Distribution -- Character Analysis -- Conclusions -- Intrageneric Relationships -- Acnowledgments -- Literature Cited

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