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Elaphe dione (PALLAS, 1773)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Steppes Ratsnakes
G: Dionenatter, Steppennatter 
SynonymColuber Dione PALLAS 1773: 717
Coluber diana LATREILLE 1802: 159 (emendation)
Chironius dione — FITZINGER 1826: 60
Coluber eremita EICHWALD 1831: 174 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Coluber maeoticus RATHKE 1837: 433 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Coluber trabalis SCHLEGEL 1837: 167 (fide DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854)
Coelopeltis dione — EICHWALD 1841: 120 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Zamenis trabalis — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 689
Elaphis dione — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 248
Elaphis dione — GÜNTHER 1864: 240
Coluber dione — BOULENGER 1894: 44
Zamenis trabalis — MÜLLER 1895: 203
Coluber dione — STONE 1899: 184
Elaphe dione — STEJNEGER 1907: 315
Zamenis pellioti MOCQUARD 1910
Coluber dione — BOULENGER 1913
Elaphe czerskii NIKOLSKY 1914
Elaphe dione niger GOLUBEVA 1923
Elaphe czerskii — EMELIANOV 1928
Elaphe dione tenebrosa SOBOLEVSKY 1929
Elaphe dione — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Elaphe dione — SCHULZ 1996
Elaphe dione — UTIGER et al. 2002
Elaphe dione czerskii — VEDMEDERYA et al. 2009
Elaphe dione — WALLACH et al. 2014: 262 
DistributionE Ukraine, S/SE Russia, Far East (Russia), Republic of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, N Iran, Kirghizia, Korea, Mongolia, Russia, N China (southward to Sichuan in the west and Jiangsu in the east; Kiangsu, Shantung, Shansi, Shensi, Gansu; north to Chang Jiang river).

Type locality: mountains near Irtin (= Irtysh River); Gratscheffskoi outpost (fide HELFENBERGER 2001); Gratscheffskoi, Kasachstan (Mertens & Mueller, 1928);
South Siberia, Russia (fide KHALIKOV, pers. comm.); restricted to Gratscheffskoi outpost, near Semijarsk, upper Irtysh area, Semipalatinsk district, Kazakhstan by MERTENS & MÜLLER 1928. Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
ReproductionOviparous. 
TypesType: Location unknown (fide V. Wallach, pers. comm.) 
CommentSynonymy partly after KHALIKOV & ANANJEVA (pers. comm.) and STEJNEGER 1907. See also discussion on Coluber trabalis in PETERS 1861: 481.

Distribution: not in Armenia fide Jeff Ettling (pers. comm., 2 April 2015).

Morphology: this is a vriable species with uniform black and red morphs, as well as striped and blotched variants.

Similar species: Can be confused with Elaphe bimaculata (and is often sold as such in the pet trade).

Conservation: Critically endangered, at least in the Ukraine (KOTENKO 2006).

Activity pattern. Diurnal and night. 
EtymologyNamed after “Dione” the mother of Aphrodite in Greek mythology. 
References
  • Abraham, G. 1984. Das Portrait: Elaphe dione - Dionenatter. Sauria 6 (4): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Adnagulov E.V. 2016. On the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the Evreiskaya Autonomous Oblast' (Russia). [in Russian] Current Studies in Herpetology, 16(3/4): 87–106 - get paper here
  • Arinin, Ivan Yu 2005. Dione rat snake Elaphe dione Pallas, 1773: survey of geographical and selective variations of the collection of Tula Exotarium. Litteratura Serpentium 25 (3): 128-145 - get paper here
  • Belik V.P. 2014. To the history of research on the amphibian and reptile fauna in the Volgograd Region. Current Studies in Herpetology 14 (1/2): 3–13. Резюме - get paper here
  • Belt, Gidi van de & Wim van de Belt 2005. The Dione-ratsnake, Elaphe dione Pallas 1773: in captivity breeding of Elaphe dione; a personal experience. Litteratura Serpentium 25 (3): 146-159 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1913. The snakes of Europe. Methusen & Co. Ltd, London, 151 pp.
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. A list of the reptiles and batrachians of Amoorland [Russia]. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 5: 137-144 - 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
  • Dieckmann, M. & Weyers, A. 2006. Keeping and breeding the Chinese Rat Snake, Elaphe dione. Reptilia (GB) (47): 70-77 - get paper here
  • Diekmann, M. & Weyers, A. 2006. Haltung und Nachzucht der chinesischen Dione-Natter (Elaphe dione). Reptilia (Münster) 11 (58): 64-71 - get paper here
  • Dorward, Leejiah D 2014. Predation of Elaphe dione (Pallas, 1773) by Dolichophis caspius (Gmelin, 1789) (Squamata: Colubridae). Herpetology Notes 7: 165-166 - get paper here
  • Dujsebayeva, T. N. (ed.) 2010. Short review of last changes in the checklist of amphibians and reptiles of Kazakhstan. [in Russian]. In: Dujsebayeva, T. N. (ed.) Herpetological Researches in Kazakhstan and adjacent countries, p. 37-52
  • Duméril, A.M.C., G. BIBRON & A.H.A. DUMÉRIL 1854. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire Naturelle complète des Reptiles. Vol. 7 (partie 1). Paris, xvi + 780 S. - get paper here
  • Eichwald, E. 1831. Zoologia specialis, quam expositis animalibus tum vivis, tum fossilibus potissimuni rossiae in universum, et poloniae in specie, in usum lectionum publicarum in Universitate Caesarea Vilnensi. Zawadski, Vilnae. - get paper here
  • Eichwald, E. 1841. Fauna Casp.-Caucas.
  • Emelyanov A.A. 1928. Instructions for collecting amphibians and reptiles. [in Russian] Works of a circle of young local lore at the Vladivostok department of the State Geographical Society. Vladivostok. (2): 3-10
  • Engelmann,W.E. et al. 1993. Lurche und Kriechtiere Europas. Neumann Verlag (Radebeul, Germany), 440 pp.
  • Eplanova G.V., Klenina A.A. 2013. To the method of reptile egg incubation. Current Studies in Herpetology 13 (3/4): 160–163. Резюме - get paper here
  • Fitzinger, L. 1826. Neue Classification der Reptilien nach ihren natürlichen Verwandtschaften nebst einer Verwandschafts-Tafel und einem Verzeichnisse der Reptilien-Sammlung des K. K. Zoologischen Museums zu Wien. J. G. Heubner, Wien, 66 pp. - get paper here
  • Garzoni, Jean and Philippe Geniez 2004. Elaphe dione (Pallas, 1773), a snake taxon new to the Turkish herpetofauna. Herpetozoa 16 (3/4):174-175 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Evolutionsbiologische Betrachtungen. Draco 16 (61): 38-45 - get paper here
  • 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
  • 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
  • Jacobs, Jan-Cor 2005. Elaphe dione, the steppe rat snake. Litteratura Serpentium 25 (1): 6-11 - get paper here
  • Kantz, H. 2016. Elaphe dione - eine attraktive Schlange im Terrarium. Terraria-Elaphe 2016 (3): 70-72 - get paper here
  • Kharin V E 2011. Annotated catalogue of amphibians and reptiles (Amphibia, Reptilia) of the Far-Eastern Marine Biosphere FEB RAS [in Russian]. Biodiversity and Environment of Far East Reserves, Vladivostok, DVMBGPZ DVO RAN 2011 (1): 30-48
  • Klesius, Thomas 2013. Wenn die Kälte kommt – die Überwinterung von Schlangen. Draco 14 (55): 50-56 - get paper here
  • Kotenko, T. 2006. Reptiles in the Red Data Book of Ukraine: a new species list, status categories, and problems arising from conservation legislation. Herpetologica Bonnensis II: 55-59 - get paper here
  • Lambert, M.R.K. 2002. Preliminary observations on herpetofaunal diversity in the Almaty region, Southern Kazakhstan (September 1998). Herpetological Bulletin (79): 7-13 - get paper here
  • Latreille,P.A. 1801. XXII Genre. Hétérodon, Heterodon. In: Sonnini and Latreille, Histoire Naturelle des Reptiles avec figures dessinées d’après nature, Vol. 4: 32-37. Chez Deterville, Paris. - get paper here
  • Lenk, P.; Joger, U. & Wink, M. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships among European ratsnakes of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger based on mitochondrial DNA sequence comparisons. Amphibia-Reptilia 22 (3): 329-339 - get paper here
  • Macey, J. Robert;Papenfuss, Theodore J.;Zhao, Ermi 1988. The snakes of Ningxia Hui autonomous region as an indication of a herpetofaunal corridor. Chinese Herpetological Research 2 (1): 4-5
  • Mattison, Chris 1997. Four small Eurasian rat snakes. Reptiles 5 (3): 24-29
  • Mocquard, M.F. 1910. Voyage de M. le D Louis Vaillant dans l'Asie centrale ( Mission Pelliot) Reptiles et batrachiens. Bull. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. Paris 3: 145-153 - get paper here
  • Müller, F. 1895. Siebenter Nachtrag zum Katalog der herpetologischen Sammlung des Basler Museums. Verh. Naturf. Ges. Basel 10: 195-215 [1892] - get paper here
  • Obst,F.J. & Scerbak,N.N. [= Szczerbak] 1993. Elaphe dione - Steppennatter. In: Böhme,W. (ed.), Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas, Band 3/I., Schlangen (Serpentes) I. Aula-Verlag Wiesbaden, pp. 295-316
  • Paik, Nam-Keuk;Yang, Suh-Yung 1987. Genetic variation in natural populations of the cat-snake (Elaphe dione). Korean Journal of Zoology 30 (3): 211-218
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