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Hebius taronensis (SMITH, 1940)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Kachin Keelback, Taron Keelback 
SynonymNatrix venningi taronensis SMITH 1940: 482
Natrix venningi taronensis SMITH 1943: 286
Amphiesma venningi taronensis — CAPTAIN & BHATT 2002: 354
Amphiesma venningi taronensis — WELCH 1988: 34
Amphiesma venningi taronensis — ZHAO 2006: 175
Amphiesma venningi taronensis — SHARMA 2007: 208
Paranatrix venningi taronenis — MAHENDRA 1984: 245
Amphiesma taronense — DAS 2010
Amphiesma taronense — WALLACH et al. 2014: 34
Amphiesma taronensis IUCN 2013
Hebius taronense — REN et al. 2018
Hebius taronensis — DAVID et al. 2021 
DistributionMyanmar (N Kachin State), India (Arunachal Pradesh)

Type locality: Pangnamdim (27° 42’ N, 97° 54’ E), and Aliwang, Taron Valley (27° 42’ N, 98° 08’ E), places north-east of Fort Hertz, Upper Burma.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1940.6.1.93, male 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderately sized species of the genus Hebius characterized by the combination of (1) 17(18)-17-17 dorsal scale rows, moderately keeled at midbody, strongly keeled posteriorly but 1st DSR smooth; (2) dorsal scales around the base of the tail very strongly keeled; (3) head moderately distinct from the neck; (4) eye average; (5) maxillary teeth 28–32, the last two moderately enlarged; (6) tail moderately long, with a ratio TaL/TL < 0.29; (7) VEN 158–176; (8) SC 92–104; (9) prefrontal scales 2; (10) 3 postoculars in all examined specimens; (11) anterior temporal more or less hexagonal, narrowing posteriorly; (12) venter both pale and dark, i.e., with a pale background on its anterior part, up to the third or half of the body, with the anterior half of each ventral typically brown or blackish-brown, producing a mottled pattern of irregular dark crossbands, sometimes reduced to one or two dark blotches on some ventrals; on its posterior part, the venter is nearly uniformly very dark ochre-brown, dark brown or blackish-brown; (13) dorsum and sides of body dark, i.e. brown, dark greyish-brown, dark brown and blackish-brown; (14) dorsal pattern made of faint, irregular pale blotches mixed with diffuse, squarish dark brown blotches forming a complex variegated or reticulate pattern, not distinctly chequered; (15) on each side, a series of small, elongate, dorsolateral blotches, pale yellowish-brown or ochre-brown (vividly colored in bright orange-yellow or bright yellow in life); (16) usually no clearly defined postocular streak; and (17) irregular yellowish-brown or yellow-ochre streaks or a faint blotch on the neck (David et al. 2021). 
CommentSynonymy: partly after David et al. 2021. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Captain, Ashok and Bharat B. Bhatt 2002. First record of Amphiesma venningi (Wall, 1910) (Serpentes, Colubridae, Natricinae) from India, with remarks on its subspecies. Hamadryad 26 (2):354-358 [2001] - get paper here
  • Das, Indraneil;Chaturvedi, Naresh 1998. Catalogue of the herpetological types in the collection of the Bombay Natural History Society. Hamadryad 23 (2): 150-156 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Dowling, H.G., & Jenner, J.V. 1988. Snakes of Burma: checklist of reported species and bibliography. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (76): 19 pp. - get paper here
  • Gayen, N. C. 2002. A record of Amphiesma venningi (Wall, 1910) (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Meghalaya state, India. Hamadryad 26 (2):375 [2001] - 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
  • Mahendra B C 1984. Handbook of the snakes of India, Ceylon, Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan. ANNALS OF ZOOLOGY (AGRA) 22 (B): i-xvi, 1-412
  • REN, JIN-LONG; KAI WANG, TAO THIEN NGUYEN, CHUNG VAN HOANG, GUANG-HUI ZHONG, KE JIANG, PENG GUO, JIA-TANG LI 2018. Taxonomic re-evaluation of the monotypic genus Pararhabdophis Bourret, 1934 (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) with discovery of its type species, P. chapaensis, from China. Zootaxa 4486 (1): 031–056 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1940. The Amphibians and Reptiles obtained by Mr. Ronald Kaulback in Upper Burma. Records of the Indian Museum 42: 465-486 - 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.
  • Venning, F.E.W. 1910. Further notes on snakes from the Chin Hills. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 20: 770-775 - get paper here
  • Wall,F. 1910. A new Tropidonotus from the Chin Hills. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 20: 345-346 - 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.
  • Whitaker, Romulus and Ashok Captain 2004. Snakes of India. Draco Books, 500 pp., reprinted 2007 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, T., and Quyet, L.K. 2006. A new natricine snake of the genus Amphiesma (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from the central Truong Son, Vietnam. Zootaxa 1225: 39-56 - get paper here
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