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Elaphe hodgsoni (GÜNTHER, 1860)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: English common name not available
G: Hodgsons Kletternatter
Chinese: 南峰锦蛇 
SynonymSpilotes hodgsonii GÜNTHER 1860: 156
Compsosoma hodgsonii — GÜNTHER 1864: 246
Compsosoma hodgsoni — STOLICZKA 1870: 189
Coluber hodgsoni — BOULENGER 1890: 332
Coluber hodgsonii — BOULENGER 1894: 35
Elaphe hodgsoni SHAW 1939
Elaphe hodgsoni — SMITH 1943: 152
Elaphe hodgsoni — DAS 1996: 56
Gonyosoma hodgsoni — WALLACH 1997
Elaphe hodgsoni — VOGEL 2002 (pers. comm.)
Orthriophis hodgsonii — UTIGER et al. 2002
Elaphe hodgsoni — SHARMA 2004
Elaphe hodgsonii — ZHAO 2006
Martinekea hodgsoni — HOSER 2012 (preliminary)
Ortriophis hodgsoni — KÄSTLE et al. 2013: 515 (in error)
Orthriophis hodgsonii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 512
Orthriophis hodgsoni — FELDMAN et al. 2015
Elaphe hodgsoni — CHEN et al. 2017
Orthriophis hodgsonni — NEPALI & SINGH 2019 (in error) 
DistributionNepal, India (Sikkim, Assam, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir),
China (Xizang = Tibet), elevation 1500-5000 m

Type locality: China: Ladakh (Günther, 1860); Tibet: Ladakh, Tsomoriri (Boulenger 1894)  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.6.15 
DiagnosisOriginal diagnosis: “Body elongate, slightly compressed. Scales indistinctly keeled, in twenty-three rows; the fifth upper lab!al shield hardly reaching upwards .to the posterior margm of the orbit) eight upper labials, two posterior oculars, anal bifid. Uniform olive, the skin between tbe scales black.” (Günther 1860: 156)

Description: “This species is closely allied to Spilotes melanurus, Schleg., and Sp.reticularis, Cant., which, however, have considerably larger scales, in nineteen, and sometimes in twenty-one series, and exhibit a different coloration. Sp. melanurus has the sixth (fifth) upper labial differently shaped; but in all have the shields of the head the same tendency to irregularities, two or three being often united. This is the case in the Nepalese specimens of the present species, wbilst that from Tibet has all distinctly separated. The form of the beau and of its shields is exactly the same as in the other species mentioned. The ante-ocular reaches to the upper surface of the head, without touching the vertical. The scales are small, especially those on the neck, where they are arranged in twenty-three rows, as in the middle of the body. Those of the dorsal series are indistinctly keeled.” (Günther 1860: 156)

Coloration: “The color of the upper parts is uniform olive, the skin between the scales being black; the belly is whitish, and the margin of each ventral shield blackish on each side. The tail is coloured like the body.” (Günther 1860: 156)

Counts and measurements fide Günther 1860: 156:

Tibetan specimen: 256 ventrals, 1/1 anals, 90 caudals
Nepalese specimen no. 1: 226 ventrals, 1/1 anals, 79 caudals
Nepalese specimen, no. 2: 233 ventrals, 1/1 anals, 85 caudals

Length of the head: 1 inches 2 lines
Length of the tail: 11 inches, 0 lines
Total length: 51 inches, 0 lines
CommentDistribution: Possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after Brian Houghton Hodgson (1800-1894) who worked for the East India Company and was primarily interested in birds. 
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  • 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
  • Chen, X., Lemmon, A.R., Lemmon, E.M., Alexander Pyron, R., Burbrink, F.T. 2017. Using phylogenomics to understand the link between biogeographic origins and regional diversification in ratsnakes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Gautam, Bivek; Mukesh Kumar Chalise, Kul Bahadur Thapa, and Santosh Bhattarai 2020. Distributional patterns of amphibians and reptiles in Ghandruk, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (1): 18–28 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1860. Contributions to a knowledge of the reptiles of the Himalaya mountains. - I. Descriptions of the new species. II. List of Himalayan reptiles, with remarks on their horizontal distribution. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1860: 148-175 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2012. A taxonomic revision of the Colubrinae genera Zamenis and Orthriophis with the creation of two new genera (Serpentes: Colubridae). Australasian J. Herpetol. 11: 59-64 - get paper here
  • Kästle , W., Rai, K. & Schleich, H.H. 2013. FIELD GUIDE to Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal. ARCO-Nepal e.V., 625 pp. - get paper here
  • Kramer, E. 1977. Zur Schlangenfauna Nepals. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 84 (3): 721-761. - get paper here
  • Lenz, Norbert 2012. Von Schmetterlingen und Donnerdrachen - Natur und Kultur in Bhutan. Karlsruher Naturhefte 4, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, 124 pp.
  • Nanhoe, L.M.R., & Ouboter, P.E. 1987. The distribution of reptiles and amphibians in the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri region (Nepal). Zoologische Verhandelingen (240): 1-105 - get paper here
  • Nepali, Pit Bahadur & Nanda Bahadur Singh 2019. Documentation of Snakes Species Richness in Palpa, Nepal. International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology 4 (11): 599-604 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Sahi D.N., Koul S. 2020. Annotated List of Amphibians and Reptiles of Jammu and Kashmir State. In: Dar G. & Khuroo A. (eds) Biodiversity of the Himalaya: Jammu and Kashmir State. Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation, vol 18. Springer, Singapore - get paper here
  • Saikia, U.; Sharma, D.K. & Sharma, R.M. 2007. Checklist of the Reptilian fauna of Himachal Pradesh, India. Reptile Rap (8): 6-9 - get paper here
  • Schulz, K. D. 1996. Eine Monographie der Schlangengattung Elaphe Fitzinger. Bushmaster, Berg (CH): 1-460
  • Schulz, K.-D. 1986. Die hinterasiatischen Kletternattern der Gattung Elaphe, Teil 6 - Elaphe hodgsoni (GÜNTHER, 1860). Sauria 8 (3): 29-30 - get paper here
  • Schulz, Klaus-Dieter 1990. Literature: Die hinterasiatischen Kletternattern der Gattung Elaphe. Teil 6: Elaphe hodgsoni (Gunther, 1860). Litteratura Serpentium 10 (6): 269-270 - get paper here
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • Shrestha, Biraj; Karan Bahadur Shah 2017. Mountain Survey of Amphibians and Reptiles and their Conservation Status in Manaslu Conservation Area, Gorkha District, Western Nepal. Conservation Science, 5: 13-18 - get paper here
  • 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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  • Swan, L.W., & Leviton, A.E. 1962. The herpetology of Nepal: a history, check list, and zoogeographical analysis of the herpetofauna. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 32 (6) (4.s.): 103-147. - get paper here
  • Utiger, Urs, Notker Helfenberger, Beat Schätti, Catherine Schmidt, Markus Ruf and Vincent Ziswiler 2002. Molecular systematics and phylogeny of Old World and New World ratsnakes, Elaphe Auct., and related genera (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 9 (2): 105-124. - get paper here
  • Wallach, V. 1997. Book review: A monograph of the colubrid snakes of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger. Herpetological Review 28 (2): 110 - get paper here
  • 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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  • Zhao Ermi; Li Shengquan 1987. The herpetofaunal composition and characteristics of Mount Namjagbarwa, Tibet. Acta Herpetologica Sinica 6 (2): 36-42 - get paper here
  • Zhao, E.M. 2006. The snakes of China [in Chinese]. Hefei, China, Anhui Sience & Technology Publ. House, Vol. I, 372 pp., Vol. II (color plates), 280 pp.
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