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Lemke boas2008-04-02

A small shipment of Boa constrictors entered the US supposedly from Sao Paulo, Brazil in the 1980ies. After first successful breedings, Lloyd Lemke,- Tim Belknap,- Kerry King bloodline were created.

First, the whole shipment of these freshly imported snakes had been bought by Lemke, before others could obtain this unqiue looking locality.
Young Lemke boas have very light, pale, greyish appearance which becomes butter-yellow, golden-yellow, maybe hazelnut-yellow. Number of dorsal saddles are usually between 18-19 or even less. Their shape can vary from hourglass-like, peaked, what's more they can be partially or wholly missing. Striped or reverse striped specimens are also known. The tail region is flaming-red which resembles to Boa c. constrictor. Ventral surface is pale pink, much like the side of their body. Ventral is thinly speckled with black.

One of our Lemke boas with hourglass-like saddles, no peaks.

Interestingly, these boas have become known as "South Brazilian amarali" among boa fans, which is incorrect from various aspects. Lloyd Lemke himelf never labeled them as amarali, he called them Boa c. constrictor, aka the nominative form. "Boa c. amarali" label was probably put on these boas by latter breeders. Another critical point is the origin of this line. They are called "South Brazilian boa" mostly, based on the fact that ancestors were imported from Sao Paulo, Brazil. However,- as it has been proved in many cases before -place of collection and place of dispatch are not always connected. In addition, boas from Sao Paulo are known to be very different in morphology from Lemke boas. Sao Paulo boas are thick bodied, silvergrey colored snakes with dark brown, they are direct opposites of Lemke boas. Several Brazilian herpetologists have also confirmed the Lemke boas are unknown in distribution are of Boa c. amarali.

A specimen with widow-peaks ("bats"). Photo: Gabor Kaminski

Subspecies of those Lemke boas is just as doubtful as it is their origin. Barry Miller himself- who had one of the biggest collection of Lemke boas all over the world -admits that "there are problems with scale counts" used as an identifier. According to scale counts, Lemke boas are much closer to Boa c. constrictor subspecies than Boa c. amarali, which is also confirmed by our two specimens.

Male: 81 dorsal scale rows, 241 ventrals, 54 subcaudals, 16 saddles from snout to vent,
Female: 83 dorsal scale rows, 239 ventrals, 53 subcaudals, 18 saddles from snout to vent.

Recently, we received few photos that were taken in Carajás National Park, Northeast Brazil, right in the middle of distribution of Boa c. constrictor. Boas from there show much more similiarity to Lemke boas than others we have seen so far.

On the right, a Lemke boa from Barry Miller's stock, while on the left a specimen found in Carajás National Park. Their resemblance is obvious.

Although, true origin of Lemke boas may never turn out, we recommend them for every fans who want a mysterious, unique looking, rare locality.

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