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Hebius nigriventer (WALL, 1925)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymNatrix nigriventer WALL 1925: 588
Natrix venningi — WALL 1926: 560 (part) (nec Tropidonotus venningi WALL 1910)
Natrix venningi — SMITH 1943: 286 (part)
Tropidonotus venningi — WERNER 1929: 24 (part) (nec T. venningi WALL 1910)
Amphiesma venningi — KOU 1985: 160 (part) (nec T. venningi WALL 1910)
Amphiesma venningi — ZHAO & JIANG 1986: 239 (?; identification uncertain)
Amphiesma Venrrinig [sic] — KOU & ZHANG 1987: 364
Amphiesma venningi — ZHAO & ADLER 1993: 228 (part)
Amphiesma venningi — ZHAO et al. 1998: 89 & 90 (part)
Amphiesma venningi — ZHANG 1999: 430 (?)
Amphiesma venningi — ZHAO et al. 2000: 205
Amphiesma venningi — ISKANDAR & COLIJN 2001: 98 (mention from China)
Amphiesma venningi — HE & ZHOU 2002: 167 (part)
Amphiesma venningi — JI 2002: 184
Amphiesma venningi — ZHAO 2006: (Vol. I) 174 (part), (Vol. II) 97: Fig. 59
Amphiesma venningi — DAVID et al. 2007: 54ff (part)
Amphiesma venningi — SHARMA 2007: 207 (in part)
Amphiesma venningi — YANG & RAO 2008: 268
Amphiesma venningi — LUO et al. 2010: 74
Amphiesma venningi — ZHANG 2011: 277 (?)
Amphiesma venningi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 33 (in part)
Hebius nigriventer — DAVID et al. 2021: 13 
DistributionMyanmar (Kachin), China (Yunnan)

Type locality: “Huton, Bhamo District (30 miles north-east of Bhamo; circa 4,500 feet; Lat. circa 97°33; Long. Circa 24°24”, now Hutung, Bhamo District, Kachin State, Myanmar  
TypesHolotype. BMNH 1946.1.13.60, adult female; collected by Father Gilhodes, June 1924. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderately sized species of the genus Hebius characterized by the combination of (1) 17(exceptionally 19)-17-15–17 dorsal scale rows, moderately keeled at midbody, strongly keeled posteriorly but 1st DSR smooth; (2) dorsal scales around the base of the tail strongly keeled; (3) head moderately distinct from the neck; (4) eye size moderate; (5) maxillary teeth 28–33, the last two moderately enlarged; (6) tail long, with a ratio TaL/TL at least equal to 0.29 in females, up to 0.37 in males; (7) VEN 155–168; (8) SC 105–143; (9) 2 prefrontal scales, (10) anterior temporal elongate, rectangular; (11) venter entirely very dark, i.e., blackish–brown or black, sometimes with two, narrow longitudinal paler stripes, at the exception of a middle stripe pale but heavily blotched with dark hues anteriorly, extending on 5–15 ventrals; (12) dorsal colour very dark, dark brown, very dark greyish-brown or blackish-brown; (13) dorsum background either uniform or with a subdued chequered dorsal pattern made of large, diffuse, rectangular darker blotches on 4th–5th and 7th–8th DSR; (14) on each side, a series of large, cream or pale yellowish-brown (bright orange, rusty-red or reddish-brown in life), rectangular blotches, higher than long anteriorly then more elongate, forming a conspicuous, dorsolateral chain of blotches on 5th–6th DSR throughout the length of the body, becoming smaller posteriorly and turning to an irregular stripe posteriorly; (15) a dark postocular streak usually present; and (16) a short, oblique yellowish-brown or yellow-ochre streak (bright orange or rusty-red in life) above the corner of the mouth and a large blotch of the same colour on the side of the neck (David et al. 2021). 
CommentSynonymy: after David et al. 2021 (also see there for references). Bourret 1936: 55 synonymized N. nigriventer with Natrix venningi. David et al. 2021 revalidated it. Figure 59-1 in Zhao 2006: Vol. II: 97 depicts a Hebius bitaeniatus.

Illustration: Yang & Rao 2008: 268 (Figure: H. nigriventer), 269 (Table 58: H. nigriventer).

Similar species: H. venningi, H. chapaensis. 
  • David, P., Bain, R. H., Nguyen Quang Truong, Orlov, N. L., Vogel, G., Vu Ngoc Thanh & T. Ziegler 2007. A new species of the natricine snake genus Amphiesma from the Indochinese Region (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae). Zootaxa 1462: 41-60 - get paper here
  • DAVID, PATRICK; GERNOT VOGEL, TRUONG QUANG NGUYEN, NIKOLAI L. ORLOV, OLIVIER S. G. PAUWELS, ALEXANDRE TEYNIÉ, THOMAS ZIEGLER 2021. A revision of the dark-bellied, stream-dwelling snakes of the genus Hebius (Reptilia: Squamata: Natricidae) with the description of a new species from China, Vietnam and Thailand. Zootaxa 4911: 1–61 - get paper here
  • He X. R. and Zhou X. Q. 2002. The fauna and geographical regionalization of reptiles in Yunnan Province. [in Chinese] Sichuan J. Zool., 21(3): 161 – 169
  • Iskandar, D.T. & E. Colijn. 2001. Checklist of Southeast Asian and New Guinea Herpetofauna II Reptilia, Serpentes. Treubia 31:135–313 - get paper here
  • Ji, D. 2002. Atlas of reptiles of China. (In Chinese). Zhengzhou, China: Henan science and Technology Press
  • Kou, Z. 1985. Amphiesma venningi, a record new to China. . [in Chinese] Acta Herpetologica Sinica, New Series, 4 (2), 160–161
  • Kou, Z. & Zhang, H. 1987. A herpetological report of Xishuanfbanna [sic]. In: Xu, Y., Jiang, H. & Fu, Q. (Ed.), Collected reports on the comprehensive survey of the Xishangbanna Natural Protected Area. Yunnan Publishing House of Science and Technology, Kunming, pp. 350–368
  • Luo J., H.Y. Gao, Y.M. Liu, L. Xu and Y. Luo 2010. A revised checklist and distribution of Chinese snakes. Pp. 67-91. In X. Ji (Eds.). Herpetologica Sinica. (In Chinese with English abstract). Southeast University Press, Nanjing, China
  • Sharma, R. C. 2007. Fauna of India and the adjacent countries. Reptilia III(Serpentes). Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, 410 pp - 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.
  • Wall, F. 1925. Two new Burmese snakes. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 30 (3): 587–588 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1926. Snakes collected in Burma in 1925. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 31 (3): 558–566 - 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.
  • Werner, F. 1929. Übersicht der Gattungen und Arten der Schlangen aus der Familie Colubridae. 3. Teil (Colubrinae). Mit einem Nachtrag zu den übrigen Familien. Zool. Jb. Syst., Jena, 57: 1-196.
  • XU, Y. H., YANG, D. C., GONG, Y. A., WU, J. X., HUANG, R. Y., LIU, Y. J., ... & HUANG, S. 2023. A new species of the Genus Hebius Thompson, 1913 (Squamata: Colubridae) from Baise, Guangxi, China. Zootaxa 5319 (1): 76-90 - get paper here
  • Yang DT, Rao DQ. 2008. Amphibia and Reptilia of Yunnan. Kunming: Yunnan Publishing Group Corporation, 1-411. (in Chinese)
  • Zhang, R. 1999. Zoogeography of China. [in Chinese] Science Press, Beijing, xiv + 502 pp.
  • Zhang, R. 2011. Zoogeography of China. 2nd Edition. [in Chinese] Science Press, Beijing, xiii + 330 pp.
  • Zhao [=Djao/Chao] Ermi, & Jiang Yao-ming 1986. Key to the snakes and lizards of China. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (71): 21 pp [translation of no. 373 by Yang Datong & Inger, R.F.] - get paper here
  • Zhao, E., Chang, H.-W., Zhao, H. & Adler, K. 2000. Revised checklist of Chinese Amphibia and Reptilia.[in Chinese] Sichuan Journal of Zoology, 19 (3): 196–207.
  • 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.
  • Zhao,E. & Adler,K. 1993. Herpetology of China. SSAR, Oxford/Ohio, 1-522
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