ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

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ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby Bizzle » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:02 pm

Hey Guys,

Our resident Baboon researcher has been snapping away merrily at the herps that have surfaced over this rainy season and came across a few that raised questions. Already some interesting additions to our reptile list, which now stands at 54 species with some very obvious gaps in the records! I am currently on leave and thus without books or easy reference. Can anyone help me positively ID the first two creatures (frog and snake). I have a pretty good idea, but would like a confirmation without leading you to something. Also, the second legless creature does look like a snake, but is it? We do get some pretty big earthworms, but this creature has visible scales, or so it seems. If it is a reptile, its probably new to our list! Oh, for the record, all pictures were taken in Kasanka National Park in northern Zambia!

Have a look and tell me what you think.

Thanks!
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Re: ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby Westley Price » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:27 pm

The blind snake I would venture a guess to be Letheobia gracilis (Rhinotyphlops gracilis).

The second snake is one of the Psammophis species, I guess a nice boldly patterned P. subtaeniatus

No idea on the frog. Sorry
"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby Bizzle » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:32 pm

Thanks!

The only species listed for Kasanka is Rhinotyphlops schmidti, which I've found before and looks considerably different. Would you agree though that it is a species of blind snake? Just now somebody is going to wreck my dreams and tell me its a worm after all? I only have the photograph to go by though...

I also think the second is a Psamnophis, but unsure which. Does taeniatus range as far up as where I am? We have the Zambian Whip, which I've only seen shoot off into the brush and have NEVER managed to catch. Might be similar? I don't have any literature handy and do not know how to direct a search on the internet properly. Are there relevant sites that may be of help?

As we are technically in the greater Congo basin, we normally find that many of the 'regular' Zambian species are replaced by the 'Congo versions' in Kasanka. Any further thoughts, founded on known distributions would be handy.

Nobody on the frog? Still have an idea... would also be new, but probably not easy to tell without close examination of the actual animal.

Cheers!
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Re: ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby coral snake » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:24 pm

Pic #1: possible L.longicaudus or a long shot-R. Schinzi.

Pic#2: a very nice P.subtaeniatus

Pic#3: possible Cacosternum boettgeri?
Brown House snake 0.2
Corn snake normal 3.1
Corn snake Albino 0.1
Leopard Gecko 0.0.1
Western Hognose 1.0
White lipped Tree viper 1.1
Yellow anaconda 1.0
Bahai scarlet birdeater 0.1
Fire Red birdeater 0.1
Curly hair 0.1
Chilean rose 0.1

-Alex Parsons
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Re: ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby Bizzle » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:11 am

I agree on the first one probably being a Letheobia but I have no idea what occurs in our area. Is longicauda patternless? I have another 'full body shot' if it helps (of the creature, not of me). Still not 100% convinced its not a worm, but a closeup does seem to reveal scales. If it is a Letheobia it would probably be our 35th snake species recorded in an area of only 40.000 hectares with no altitudinal variation!

Not so sure about the subtaeniatus as most literature states its distribution ends south of us. There is a fairly well pronounced division between the Zambezian and Congo systems if you look at the species found on either side. Zambian Whip (zambiensis) was previously lumped up with brevirostris leopardinus. Cannot find any pics though. Thoughts?

Doesnt seem like a Caco, was thinking along the lines of a Squeaker (Schoutedenella, not Arthrolepis), but not quite sure. What do you say? In the past we've found probable Dwarf Squeaker on Mt LAvushi, which would have represented a 600km range extension! Its not listed for Kasanka, but xenochirus is. Still not convinced thats it though.

Anyone else with thoughts? Would love to hear them guys - where are the professionals? :)
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Re: ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby Westley Price » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:33 am

I'm 100% sure your pink animal is a snake. One can see the large eyes on the right hand side of the pics. Most of the other blind snakes and thread snakes from Zambia and DRC are pigmented, either grey, black or brown, but the Letheobia are not pigmented (pink).
"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby Bizzle » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:17 am

Great, thanks Westley! That would mean a new addition to our list - only Schmidt's Blind and Katanga Worm Snake so far. Exciting stuff!
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Re: ID Please (Kasanka, Zambia)

Postby uncutdiamonds » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:53 pm

westley wrote:The blind snake I would venture a guess to be Letheobia gracilis (Rhinotyphlops gracilis).
...

Fond a similar one in the swimming pool a while ago here. Unfortunately dead (presumably drowning).
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