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Calamaria albiventer (GRAY, 1834)

IUCN Red List - Calamaria albiventer - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Calamariinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: White-bellied Reed Snake
G: Weissbauch-Riednatter 
SynonymChangulia albiventer GRAY in GRAY & HARDWICKE 1834: pl. 86
Calamaria lumbricoidea SCHLEGEL 1837
Calamaria linnei Var. — CANTOR 1847 (nec Calamaria linnaei BOIE in BOIE 1827)
Calamaria albiventer — GÜNTHER 1858
Calamaria linnaei (nec Calamaria linnaei BOIE in BOIE 1827) — WERNER 1896
Calamaria indragirica SCHENKEL 1901
Calamaria indragirica — ROOIJ 1917
Calamaria ornata WERNER 1909
Calamaria indraginia (sic) — BARBOUR 1912
Calamaria albiventer — TWEEDIE 1953: 50
Calamaria albiventer — INGER & MARX 1965: 94
Calamaria albiventer — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 328
Calamaria albiventer — INGER & VORIS 2001
Calamaria albiventer — WALLACH et al. 2014: 134
Calamaria albiventer — LEE 2021 
DistributionW Malaysia, Penang I, Singapore I (?), Indonesia (Sumatra)

Type locality: Penang

ornata: Sumatra; Type locality: Songei Lalak, Indragiri, Sumatra.  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.1.2.10 (formerly BMNH 1860.3.19.1269a–b) and BMNH 1946.1.2.18 (formerly BMNH 1898.9.22.39), three females (T. Hardwicke, 1756 –1823)
holotype: ZMH [ornata] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Maxillary teeth modified; third and fourth supralabials entering orbit; preocular present; mental touching anterior chin shields; body with 4 narrow light stripes (Inger & Marx 1965).

Description. Rostral broader than high, portion visible from above about 2/3 length of prefrontal suture; prefrontal 3/4 length of frontal, touching first 2 supralabials; frontal hexagonal, 1.66 to 2 times width of supraocular, about /6 length of parietal; parietal 1.5 times length of prefrontal; paraparietal usually surrounded by 5 shields or scales; nasal smaller than or equal to postocular; preocular present, neither ocular as high as eye; greater than eye-mouth distance; 5 supralabials, third and fourth entering orbit, fifth the largest, first 4 subequal; mental triangular, touching anterior chin shields; 5 infralabials, first 3 touching anterior chin shields; both pairs of chin shields meeting in midline; 3 gulars in midline between posterior chin shields and first ventral (Inger & Marx 1965).

Body thickness index 0.026 (1 specimen); tail tapering gradually from base, abruptly tapering at tip to a sharp point; dorsal scales reduce to 4 rows on tail opposite fifth to eighth subcaudal anterior to terminal scute.
Cloaca of female bilobed (1 specimen).
Nine modified maxillary teeth (3 specimens) (Inger & Marx 1965).

Scale counts: Ventrals: males, 143-144 (N=2); females, 147-162 (mean 156.4;
N=10). Subcaudals: males, 21-22 (N=2); females, 15-19 (mean 17.0; N=10).
Total length: males, 205 mm. (N=2); females, 170-361 mm. Ratio of tail to total length: males, 0.088-0.093 (N=2); females, 0.047-0.088 (mean 0.066; N=9) (Inger & Marx 1965).

Coloration: body brown above; two pairs of light longitudinal stripes; lower half of first scale row and adjacent edges of ventrals brown; adjacent halves of first and second scale rows yellowish; a broad dark stripe on upper half of second scale row, all of third and fourth rows, and lower half of fifth row; this dark band sometimes split by a lighter brown stripe formed by light speckling on adjacent halves of third and fourth scale rows; yellowish stripe on adjacent halves of fifth and sixth scale rows; a dark stripe on vertebral scale row and adjacent halves of sixth rows; top of head light brown with a dark network or dark spots; upper third or half of supralabials brown; remainder of supraliabals and underside of head yellowish, usually with dark spots on infralabial sutures; ventrals yellow except for dark lateral edges; underside of tail yellowish with a dark median stripe.
In life reddish brown above; upper light stripe red, lower light stripe bluish white; both light stripes edged with black; underside of head lemon yellow shading into red on neck; underside of body and tail bright red (Flower, 1899, p. 674) (Inger & Marx 1965). 
CommentSynonymy mainly after David & Vogel 1996. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “albus, -a, -um” = white and “venter” = belly or stomach. 
  • Gray. J. E. 1834. Illustrations of Indian Zoology, chiefly selected from the collection of Major - General Hardwicke. Vol. 2. London (1833-1834): 263 pp., 95 plates - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. L., H. Kaiser & N. S. Yaakob 2004. A new species of Reed Snake of the genus Calamaria H. Boie, 1827, from Pulau Tioman, Pahang, West Malaysia. Hamadryad 28 (1&2): 1-6 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. Lee; Chan K. Onn, Jesse L. Grismer, Perry L. Wood, Jr., and A. Norhayati 2010. A CHECKLIST OF THE HERPETOFAUNA OF THE BANJARAN BINTANG, PENINSULAR MALAYSIA. Russ. J. Herpetol. 17 (2): 147-160 - get paper here
  • Inger, R. F. & H. MARX 1965. The systematics and evolution of the oriental colubrid snakes of the genus Calamaria. Fieldiana: Zoology 49: 1-304. - get paper here
  • Lee, Justin L. 2021. Description of a new species of Southeast Asian reed snake from northern Laos (Squamata: Colubridae: Genus Calamaria F. Boie, 1827) with a revised diagnosis of Calamaria yunnanensis Chernov, 1962. Journal of Natural History, 55:9-10, 531-560, - get paper here
  • Manthey, U. & Grossmann, W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 512 pp. - get paper here
  • Poyarkov, Nikolay A.; Jr., Tan Van Nguyen, Nikolai L. Orlov, Gernot Vogel 2019. A New Species of the Genus Calamaria Boie, 1827 from the Highlands of the Langbian Plateau, Southern Vietnam (Squamata: Colubridae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 26 (6): 335-348 - get paper here
  • Quah, Evan S. H.; Kelvin K.P. Lim, Eric H.H. Leong and Shahrul Anuar M.S. 2018. Identification and a new record from Penang Island of the rare red-bellied reed snake (Calamaria albiventer) (Gray, 1835) (Serpentes: Calamariinae). RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY 66: 486–493 - get paper here
  • Schenkel, E. 1901. Achter Nachtrag zum Katalog der herpetologischen Sammlung des Basler Museums. Verh. naturf. Ges. Basel, 13:142-199. - get paper here
  • Smedley, N. 1932. Notes on the herpetological collections in the Selangor Museum. Bull. Raffles Mus. No 7: 9-17
  • TEYNIÉ, ALEXANDRE; PATRICK DAVID, & ANNEMARIE OHLER 2010. Note on a collection of Amphibians and Reptiles from Western Sumatra (Indonesia), with the description of a new species of the genus Bufo. Zootaxa 2416: 1–43 - get paper here
  • Tweedie, M. W. F. 1953. The snakes of Malaya. Singapore National Printers (Pte) Ltd., Singapore. 139 pp.
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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