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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 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. 
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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