NEW MATERIALS FROM SNAKES (LEPIDOSAURIA, SQUAMATA) FROM THE MIOCENE OF VENEZUELA

NEW MATERIALS FROM SNAKES (LEPIDOSAURIA, SQUAMATA) FROM THE MIOCENE OF VENEZUELA

Annie Schmaltz HSIOU1 and Rodolfo SÁNCHEZ

1 Departamento de Biologia, FFCLRP, Universidade de São Paulo; Av. Bandeirantes

3900, Ribeirão Preto-SP, Brazil. anniehsiou@ffclrp.usp.br 2 Smithsonian Tropical

Research, Museo Paleontológico de la Alcaldía de Urumaco, Falcón, Venezuela. rodolfosanchez128@hotmail.com

The recent findings of Miocene squamates in northern South America has increased our knowledge as well provided new systematic and palaeoenvironmental data. In the northwestern Falcón State near Urumaco Municipality, Venezuela, outcrop the Socorro and Urumaco Formations, which hosts diverse terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine and marine faunal associations including a diverse vertebrate fauna (Sánchez-Villagra and Aguilera, 2006). Head et al. (2006) described the first records of fossil snakes of Venezuela, belonging to the probable basal alethinophidian snake Colombophis (Hsiou et al., 2010) and undetermined Boidae. Later, Hsiou and Albino (2010) re-evaluated some boid materials of Head et al. (2006) and attributed such vertebrae to Eunectes sp. and cf. Eunectes. Here we report new snake vertebral remains from the Middle–Late Miocene of Venezuela (Socorro and Urumaco Formations). Some of the new snake vertebrae can be also referred to the extant boid snake Eunectes sp. (Late Miocene of Urumaco Formation), whereas the other materials belong to Colombophis portai Hoffstetter and Rage, 1997 (Middle Miocene of Socorro Formation). These new records reinforce the idea that the squamate assemblage found in northern South America has ecological similarities with the Miocene faunas of La Venta (Colombia), Urumaco (Venezuela), and Acre (Brazil) (Hsiou and Albino, 2009, 2010; Hsiou et al., 2009, 2010).

Head, J.J., Sanchéz-Villagra,M.R., and Aguilera, O.A. 2006. Fossil snakes from the Neogene of Venezuela (Falcón State). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 4: 233–240. Hsiou, A.S. and Albino, A.M. 2009. Presence of the genus Eunectes (Serpentes. Boidae) in the Neogene of southwestern Amazonia. Brazil. Journal of Herpetology 43: 612–619. Hsiou, A.S., Albino,A.M. and Ferigolo, J. 2009. First lizard remains (Teiidae) from the Miocene of Brazil (Solimões Formation). Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia 12: 225–230. Hsiou, A.S., Albino, A.M. and Ferigolo, J. (2010). Reappraisal of the South American Miocene snakes of the genus Colombophis, with description of a new species. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 5, 365–379.

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