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Additional identifying characteristics..

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Posted by: Kelly_Haller at Tue Aug 3 22:18:37 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Kelly_Haller ]  
   

Zack,
You beat me to it, but good photos of these species with the main key points of differentiation. Other addition points to consider are the characteristic coloration markers of P. curtus. Adult curtus show a highly faded anterior dorsal surface where the background is mainly black, and not brown or tan. Also, the anterior and mid-body dorsal blotches of adult P. curtus are never outlined in lighter pigment and they neatly blend into the background coloration uninterrupted. Additionally, the lateral side blotches are almost always outlined by white in curtus, but never the anterior dorsal blotches. If you see anything other than this on an adult curtus, I would strongly question the identity of that specimen and also check the head scalation carefully.

Another check is the ventral scale count. P. brongersmai has 167 or more, while breitensteini and curtus have 165 or less. These are very difficult to count on adults, but very young specimens can be placed on the glass of a photocopier and the paper copy is easily counted. This works great for ventral counts on any small snake. Also, as Rich pointed out earlier, hybrids or intergrades between these species can many times be extremely difficult to determine accurately.

Kelly


   

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