Tag Archives: Colubridae

Chrysopelea rhodopleuron ssp. viridis Fischer

Sangihe Flying Snake (Chrysopelea rhodopleuron ssp. viridis)

The Sangihe Flying Snake was described in 1880 from a single specimen which was subsequently destroyed during World War II; it was originally described as a distinct species. This form was apparently restricted to the island of Sangihe, the largest of the Sangihe Islands, Indonesia (not Sulawesi as is often stated).

The snake reached a length of 1,4 m, it was bright green above and slightly paler below, parts of the head were yellowish colored. [1]

The status of this form is not known but it appears to be extinct.

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References:

[1] J. G. Fischer: Neue Amphibien und Reptilien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 215-227. 1880

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Depiction from: ‘J. G. Fischer: Neue Amphibien und Reptilien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 46(1): 215-227. 1880′

(not in copyright)

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edited: 19.08.2022

Hypsirhynchus melanichnus (Cope)

Hispaniola Racer (Hypsirhynchus melanichnus)

The Hispaniola Racer was described in 1862, it was endemic to the large island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles.

The species reached a length of about 65 cm, its back was plain olive-green colored, there was a white stripe spanning from the neck to the middle of the body, the belly was olive-green as well, yet somewhat lighter than the back.

The biology of the Hispaniola Racer is not well known, it was diurnal and apparently was mostly found on the ground.

The Hispaniola Racer was last found in 1910 and is now considered extinct. The reasons for the extinction of this species are the same as for its gongener from the nearby island of Jamaica, the Jamaican Racer (Hypsirhynchus ater (Gosse)), that is habitat loss and predation by the introduced and highly invasive Javan Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire)).  

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Depiction from: ‘Doris M. Cochran: The Herpetology of Hispaniola. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 177. 1941’

(not in copyright)

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edited: 30.10.2020

Hypsirhynchus ater (Gosse)

Jamaican Racer (Hypsirhynchus ater)  

The Jamaican Racer was described in 1851, it is, or rather was endemic to the island of Jamaica, where it was historically common and found island-wide.  

The species reached a lenth of about 85 cm (or about 1 m according to other sources), its back was black or dark olive-colored with black spots, the belly was plain black or olive-colored.  

The Jamaican Racer was a diurnal species that actively hunted for its prey, mainly smaller reptiles, especially so-called galliwasps (Celestus spp.).  

When the species was described in 1851, it was considered to be one of the most common snakes on Jamaika, but then during the 1940s its populations begun to vanish due to habitat loss and predation by Javan Mongooses (Herpestes javanicus (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire)) that had been introduced to the island by 1872.  

The last ‘sighting’ was a shed skin that was found in the early 1970s, as well as an alleged video made in around 2010 that is assumed to show this snake. It is officially considered critically endangered, yet is most likely already completely extinct.  

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edited: 15.09.2019