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International Journal of Zoology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 827820, 10 pages
Research Article

Morphological Variation of Sordellina punctata (Peters, 1880) with Notes on the Phylogenetic Position of the Genus within the Family Dipsadidae (Serpentes)

1Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Ilha do Governador, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Quinta da Boa Vista, 20940-040 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 30 March 2012; Revised 23 June 2012; Accepted 7 July 2012

Academic Editor: Hynek Burda

Copyright © 2012 Bruno Henrique V. Miranda and Daniel Silva Fernandes. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sordellina punctata (Peters, 1880) is a poorly known species from Brazil that, until recently, had an uncertain phylogenetic position. Sixty-one specimens of Sordellina punctata were examined, representing different localities encompassing the known geographic distribution of this taxon. Eight skulls and five hemipenes were prepared and described in detail and data on scale variation and color pattern as well as morphometric data were analyzed. The skull bones described, as well as the hemipenis of S. punctata, were compared to available data in the literature referred to members of the tribe Echinanterini and related taxa. Sordellina punctata presents an average snout-vent length of 31.5 cm for males and 40.2 for females and has an average of 149 ventral scales in males and 157 in females. The data presented here reinforce the necessity of a greater amount of osteological descriptive studies, especially of members of the tribe Echinanterini, in order to evaluate the recently proposed hypothesis of relationship of S. punctata and these taxa.