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Herpetoreas pealii (SCLATER, 1891)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Assam Keelback, Peal’s Keelback, Bark Brown Keelback 
SynonymTropidonotus pealii SCLATER 1891: 241
Tropidonotus pealii — BOULENGER 1893: 214
Natrix pealii — WALL 1923
Natrix pealii — SMITH 1943: 291
Paranatrix pealii — MAHENDRA 1984
Amphiesma pealii — DAS 1996: 53
Hebius pealii — GUO et al. 2014
Amphiesma pealii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 32
Herpetoreas pealii — DAS et al. 2020
Herpetoreas pealii — LALREMSANGA et al. 2022 
DistributionIndia (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh)

Type locality: Sibsagar district of Assam  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.13.43, designated by Das et al. 2020; paralectotype: ZSI 4034, male 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of Herpetoreas that differs from other species of the genus in having fewer ventrals (136 and 142) than H. sieboldii (180), H. platyceps (174–217), H. xenura (158–165), and H. burbrinki (172). Herpetoreas pealii also has fewer subcaudals (69 and 77) than H. platyceps (86–107), H. xenura (82–105), and H. burbrinki (96). Herpetoreas pealii further differs from H. platyceps and H. sieboldii: in having nine (versus eight) supralabials and from H. sieboldii and H. platyceps in having laterally darkly blotched (verses immaculate) ventrals. Herpetoreas pealii differs from H. xenura in having paired (versus unpaired) subcaudals (Das et al. 2020). 
CommentAbundance: this is one of the species called “lost” and “rediscovered” by Lindken et al. 2024. 
EtymologyNamed after Samuel Edward Peal (1834 –1897), a tea planter based in the upper Assam district of Sibsagar in erstwhile British India, and collector of the types. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Das, A., Gower, D. J., & Deepak, V. 2020. Lost and found: rediscovery and systematics of the Northeast Indian snake Hebius pealii (Sclater, 1891). Vertebrate Zoology 70 (3): 305–318 - 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
  • Lalremsanga, H. T., Bal, A. K., Vogel, G., & Biakzuala, L. 2022. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of lesser known colubrid snakes reveal a new species of Herpetoreas (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae), and new insights into the systematics of Gongylosoma scriptum and its allies from northeastern India. SALAMANDRA, 58(2): 101-115 - get paper here
  • Lindken T.; Anderson, C. V., Ariano-Sánchez, D., Barki, G., Biggs, C., Bowles, P., Chaitanya, R., Cronin, D. T., Jähnig, S. C., Jeschke, J. M., Kennerley, R. J., Lacher, T. E. Jr., Luedtke, J. A., Liu, C., Long, B., Mallon, D., Martin, G. M., Meiri, 2024. What factors influence the rediscovery of lost tetrapod species? Global Change Biology, 30: 1-18 - 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
  • Purkayastha J. 2013. An Amateur’s Guide to Reptiles of Assam. EBH Publishers (India) - get paper here
  • Sclater,W.L. 1891. Notes on a collection of snakes in the Indian Museum, with descriptions of several new species. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal LX: 230-250 - get paper here
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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