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Elaphe carinata (GÜNTHER, 1864)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesElaphe carinata carinata GÜNTHER 1864
Elaphe carinata yonaguniensis TAKARA 1962 
Common NamesE: Taiwan Stink Snake
G: Gekielte Kletternatter
Chinese: 王锦蛇 
SynonymPhyllophis carinata GÜNTHER 1864: 298
Phyllophis carinata — GÜNTHER 1888: 170
Elaphe carinata — STEJNEGER 1898
Coluber phyllophis BOULENGER 1891: 280
Coluber phyllophis BOULENGER 1894: 55
Coluber (Elaphis) phyllophis — MÜLLER 1895: 203
Spaniopholis Souliei MOCQUARD 1897
Spaniopholis Souliei — WALL 1903: 93
Spaniopholis kreyenbergi MÜLLER 1907
Elaphe carinata — STEJNEGER 1907: 308
Elaphe osborni SCHMIDT 1925: 3
Coluber camillo-schneideri VOGT 1927
Elaphe carinata souliei — MELL 1931 [1929]
Elaphe kreyenbergi kreyenbergi — MELL 1931 [1929]
Elaphe kreyenbergi osborni — MELL 1931 [1929]
Elaphe carinata — SMITH 1943
Elaphe carinata deqinensis YANG & SU 1983
Elaphe carinata deqenensis YANG & SU 1984
Elaphe carinata — SCHULZ 1996
Elaphe carinata — UTIGER et al. 2002
Elaphe carinata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 261
Elaphe carinata — WANG et al. 2022

Elaphe carinata yonaguniensis TAKARA 1962
Elaphe carinata yonaguniensis — GORIS & MAEDA 2004: 227
Elaphe carinata yonaguniensis — JANSEN & SHEPHERD 2019 
DistributionN Vietnam (Hong River),
Taiwan (incl. Lanyu),
China (northward to Henan, Shaanxi, and Gansu; Guangdong, Fuktien, Jiangxi, Chekiang, Kiangsu, Anhwei, Hupeh, Sichuan, Yunnan; south to Huang He River, Fujian),
Japan (Ryukyu islands incl. Senkaku group)

Type locality: China (Günther, 1864); restricted to Lu Shan, south of Jiujiang (= Kiu Kiang), on Lake Poyang, Jiangxi, China, by Schulz, 1992.

deqenensis: Deqin County, Yunnan, China; restricted to a small area in Yunnan (Deqin and Weixi counties)
yonaguniensis: Japan (Ryukyu islands incl. Senkaku group), Taiwan.

Elevation 100-2500 m.  
TypesHolotype: unknown (fide NGUYEN et al. 2009).
Holotype: URJ (Agr. & Home Econo. Divi. Univ. Ryukyus), number 6, adult female, leg. S. MlYARA, March 27,1959 (cited after Schulz 1996: 92) [yonaguniensis] 
CommentThe original description is available online (see link below). This species shows a marked ontological shift from striped to banded (see Guo et al. 2012 for photos).

Subspecies: Elaphe carinata deqenensis YANG & SU 1984 has been synonymized with E. c. carinata by Guo et al. 2012.

E. c. yonaguniensis is classified as “vulnerable” in Japan (Ota 2000). 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “carinatus” = keeled (like a ship). 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1891. Description of new oriental reptiles & batrachians. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (7) 6: 279-283 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - get paper here
  • Chapman, G. 1984. Breeding results: Elaphe carinata. Litteratura Serpentium 4 (1): 16-20 - get paper here
  • Dixon, J.R.; Hikida, T. 1995. On the proposed conservation of the specific name of Phyllopis carinata Gunther, 1864 (Reptilia, Serpentes). Bull. Zool. Nomenclature 52 (4): 345 - get paper here
  • Dowling, H.G. 1959. Egg-eating adaption in the Chinese Ratsnake, Elaphe carinata Günther Copeia 1959 (1): 68-69. - get paper here
  • Goris, R.C. & Maeda, N. 2004. Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Japan. Krieger, Malabar, 285 pp.
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1888. On a collection of reptiles from China. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 1: 165-172 - get paper here
  • GUO, Peng; Qin LIU, Edward A. MYERS,Shaoying LIU, Yan XU, Yang LIU and Yuezhao WANG 2012. Evaluation of the Validity of the Ratsnake Subspecies Elaphe carinata deqenensis (Serpent: Colubridae). Asian Herpetological Research 3 (3): 219–226 - get paper here
  • HAWLEY, R 2020. Elaphe carinata (King Ratsnake). Diet. Herpetological Review 51: 618.
  • Helfenberger, Notker 2001. Phylogenetic relationship of Old World Ratsnakes based on visceral organ topography, osteology, and allozyme variation. Russ. J. Herpetol. (Suppl.): 1-56 - get paper here
  • Hidetoshi Ota 1991. Taxonomic Status of Mabuya multicarinata (Gray, 1845) (Scincidae: Squamata: Reptilia) from Taiwan, with Comments on the Herpetofauna of Lanyu Island. Bull. Coll. Sci., Univ. Ryukyus, No. 51: 11-18
  • Janssen, Jordi & Chris R. Shepherd 2019. Trade in Endangered and Critically Endangered Japanese Herpetofauna Endemic to The Nansei Islands Warrants Increased Protection. Current Herpetology Feb 2019 Vol. 38, No. 1: 99-109 - get paper here
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  • Qi, S., Shi, J. S., Ma, Y. B., Gao, Y. F., Bu, S. H., Grismer, L. L., Li, P.P. & Wang, Y. Y. 2021. A sheep in wolf's clothing: Elaphe xiphodonta sp. nov.(Squamata, Colubridae) and its possible mimicry to Protobothrops jerdonii. ZooKeys 1048: 23-47 - get paper here
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  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
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