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Hebius clerki (WALL, 1925)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Yunnan Keelback
G: Boulengers Gebirgswassernatter
Chinese: 克氏腹链蛇 
SynonymNatrix clerki WALL 1925: 809
Amphiesma parallelum — AO et al. 2004
Amphiesma clerki — DAVID et al. 2015
Hebius clerki — GUO et al. 2014 (by implication) 
DistributionN India (Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim), Myanmar, China (Yunnan), Nepal

Type locality: “Sinlum Kaba, Kachin Hills”, now Sinlumkaba, Kachin State, Myanmar (24°16'N–97°31'E)  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.13.50 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Amphiesma characterized by (1) a dark dorsal background, dark brown, dark greyish- brown or dark brownish-grey (same in life), becoming more or less distinctly darker on the back than on sides; (2) laterally, a series of pale yellow, pale yellowish-brown or brownish-yellow spots (reddish-brown or rusty red in life), distinctly larger and conspicuous on the neck and forepart of the body, connected along the hinder half of the body by a pale dorsolateral stripe extending on the 5th–7thdorsal scale rows; (3) scales broadly edged with dark brown on the lower part of the sides, producing irregular blotches; (4) faint, irregular and short blackish-brown streaks on the 1st dorsal scale row, producing a very discontinuous zigzag ventrolateral stripe; (5) a conspicuous, broad, blackish-brown postocular streak extending from behind the eye to the corner of the mouth then extending, usually without gap (rarely discontinuous) on the side of the neck; (6) a conspicuous, pale (cream or pale yellow), V or Y-shaped chevron starting on each side from behind the last supralabial and reaching the upper surface of the neck, pointing backwards; (7) supralabials dotted with brown to black dots or even nearly brown, edged with dark brown and with usually a conspicuous streak on the hinder margin of the 6th SL; (8) venter creamy yellow (bright reddish-brown, rusty red or crimson in life), with outer tips of ventral scales light brown (dark purplish-red in life); (9) 18–22 maxillary teeth, the last two strongly enlarged, either without diastema or barely separated from anterior teeth by a short diastema; (10) 19–19–17 dorsal scale rows; (11) dorsal scales strongly keeled on all dorsal scale rows, including 1st row; (12) tail long, ratio tail length / total length 0.262–0.325 (0.280–0.325 in males, 0.262–0.273 in females); (13) 162–173 ventrals; (14) 85–108 subcaudals; (15) anal plate divided; (16) usually 1 preocular; (17) usually 2 anterior temporals [David et al. 2015]. 
CommentSynonymy: Natrix clerki WALL 1925 was considered as a synonym of Amphiesma parallelum by SMITH 1943, and most subsequent authors followed his synonymization (e.g. WALLACH et al. 2014: 32). DAVID et al. 2015 resurrected N. clerki as Amphiesma clerki. Since H. clerki has quite a large range, many reports of H. parallelum may actually represent H. clerki. 
  • Ao J. M., David P., Bordoloi S., Ohler A. 2004. Notes on a collection of snakes from Nagaland, Northeast India, with 19 new records for this state. Russian Journal of Herpetology 11 (2): 155 – 162
  • DAVID, PATRICK; ISHAN AGARWAL, RAMANA ATHREYA, ROSAMMA MATHEW,<br />GERNOT VOGEL & VIRAL K. MISTRY 2015. Revalidation of Natrix clerki Wall, 1925, an overlooked species in the genus Amphiesma Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 (Squamata: Natricidae). Zootaxa 3919 (2): 375–395 - get paper here
  • GUO, PENG; FEI ZHU, QIN LIU, LIANG ZHANG, JIAN X. LI, YU Y. HUANG & R. ALEXANDER PYRON 2014. A taxonomic revision of the Asian keelback snakes, genus Amphiesma (Serpentes: Colubridae: Natricinae), with description of a new species. Zootaxa 3873 (4): 425–440 - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2016. Liste der im Jahr 2015 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Terraria-Elaphe 2016 (3): 56-67 - get paper here
  • Wall, FRANK 1925. Notes on snakes collected in Burma in 1924. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 30 (4): 805-821. - get paper here
  • Wang K, Lyu ZT, Wang J, Qi S, Che J 2022. Updated Checklist and Zoogeographic Division of the Reptilian Fauna of Yunnan Province, China. Biodiversity Science 30 (4): 21326, 1–31 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • ZHOU, ZHENGYAN; ZHIYONG SUN, SHUO QI, YUYAN LU, ZHITONG LYU, YINGYONG WANG, PIPENG LI, JIANZHANG MA 2019. A new species of the genus Hebius (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Hunan Province, China. Zootaxa 4674 (1): 068–082 - get paper here
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