Liochlorophis, L. vernalis [article]

Harlan D. Walley
CONTENT. Liochlorophis is monotypic. DEFINITION and DIAGNOSIS. Liochlorophis is a small slender snake ranging in adult size from 30-80 cm in total length. Dorsal ground color is bright green. The venter is usually white or yellowish, with the yellow most pronounced toward the tail. Young individuals are normally much darker than adults, and may be olive, bluish-gray, or even brownish in coloration. Preserved specimens are usually blue above (Blanchard and Finster 1933 , Wright and Wright 1957 ,
more » ... Oldham and Smith 1991) . Dorsal scales are smooth and in 15 rows at midbody, with no vestige of keels, and one apical pit. Ventrals number 116-157, subcaudals 59-102, and the cloaca1 plate is divided. Head scales include a single anterior temporal, usually one preocular, two postoculars, and a single loreal. Upper labials usually number 7 and lower labials usually 8. Each nostril lies within a single scale. Temporals usually are 1-2, but occasionally 1-3. The tail is relatively short with distinct sexual dimorphism in both length and number of subcaudals. Other diagnostic features include an everted hemipenis that is shorter and more robust than that of Opheodrys (Rossman and Schaefer 1974) . The latter also bears fringed calyces, whereas that of Liochlorophis has smooth-edged calyces (H.G. Dowling, pers. comm.) and a relatively large nude apical area. Snakes in the genus Liochlorophis also are missing three intrinsic integumentary muscles associated with the neural plates (scurales triangularis, s. trapezoidales, and s. ovales). Six usually occur in colubrid snakes (Opheodrys has five). Egg retention is protracted, with a maximum postdepositional fetal period of about 30 days (Oldham and Smith (1991) . ILLUSTRATIONS, DISTRIBUTION, FOSSIL RECORD, and PERTINENT LITERATURE. See species account. ETYMOLOGY.The generic name Liochlorophis is a combination of the Greek words lio, chloro. and ophis, meaning, respectively,smooth,green,and snake, in reference to the smooth scales and dorsal coloration. Liochlorophis vernalis (Harlan) Smooth Green Snake Coluber vernalis Harlan 1827:36 1. Type locality, "Inhabits Pennsylvania and New Jersey." The holotype is lost, although it was originally in the collection of the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences. No type locality was given in the original description; but Pennsylvania and New Jersey were mentioned as habitat. Schmidt (1953) restricted the type locality to "vicinity of Philadelphia." See Remarks.
doi:10.15781/t28g8fn9n fatcat:5pa27dyigvf73k3kqzkukwj5iy