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Herpetoreas tpser REN, JIANG, HUANG, DAVID & LI, 2022

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Mêdog Himalayas Keelback
Chinese: Mò Tuō Fù Liàn Shé (墨脱腹链蛇) 
SynonymHerpetoreas tpser REN, JIANG, HUANG, DAVID & LI 2022
Amphiesma khasiensis — ZHAO & LI 1985: 106 [120]
Amphiesma khasiensis — ZHAO et al. 1986: 201
Amphiesma parallela — ZHAO & LI 1987: 49
Amphiesma parallelum — ZHAO & ADLER 1993: 227 (in part)
Amphiesma parallelum — LI et al. 1995: 264
Amphiesma parallelum — ZHAO et al. 1998: 74 (in part)
Amphiesma parallelum — ZHAO 2006: 169 (in part)
Amphiesma parallelum — ZHAO 2006: 92: Figure 54
Amphiesma parallelum — LI et al. 2010: 166
Hebius parallelum — GUO et al. 2014: 438 (in part)
Herpetoreas cf. parallelum — CHE et al. 2020: 673
Herpetoreas tpser — LALREMSANGA et al. 2022 
DistributionSW China (SE Xizang Autonomous Region = Tibet, Mêdog County), elevation 1087–2280 m
TypesHolotype: CIB 8418 (field no. 73II5194), adult male, from Beibeng Town to De’ergong Village, Mêdog County, Nyingchi City, Xizang Autonomous Region, China (ca. 1300 m a.s.l.), collected by Er-Mi Zhao and Xue-En Wu, on 28 July 1973.
Paratypes: CIB 8419 (field no. T8370131), adult female, from Ani Bridge, Beibeng Town, Mêdog County, Nyingchi City, Xizang Autonomous Region, China (ca. 1200 m a.s.l.), collected by Sheng-Quan Li, on 18 July 1983. CIB 118523 (field no. JK202005293), adult female, from Ani Bridge (29°3289′ N, 95°1780′ E, ca. 1087 m a.s.l.), Beibeng Town, Mêdog County, Nyingchi City, Xizang Autonomous Region, China, collected by Xiao-Yong Ding in May, 2016. CIB 118524 (field no. LAB2019437), adult female, from the forest near Hanmi (29°3809′ N, 95°112′ E, ca. 2280 m a.s.l.), Mêdog County, Nyingchi City, Xizang Autonomous Region, China, collected by Xiao-Yong Ding in September, 2019. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: (1) Body cylindrical, TL 387–679 mm; (2) tail relatively long, TaL/TL 0.262–0.317; (3) dorsal scale rows 19-19-17; all keeled or may not be so on outermost rows; (4) ventrals 153–167; (5) cloacal plate and subcaudals divided; (6) subcaudals 79–97; (7) supralabials 8–9, 3rd–5th or 4th–6th entering orbit; (8) maxillary teeth 20–21, slightly enlarged posteriorly, last two distinctly enlarged, separated from anterior teeth by small diastema; (9) hemipenis short and thin, shallowly bilobed, spinous throughout with a single basal hook; (10) sulcus spermaticus single, centripetal, extends to crotch; (11) a light, dark-bordered crescent extending from the last supralabial up and back over the nape; (12) dorsum reddish-brown in life, speckled with short dark stripes; (13) venter reddish-orange in life, each ventral decorated with dark spots at lateral edge. 
CommentHerpetoreas tpsersp. nov. was previously misidentified as Hebius parallelus. Although the Tibetan record of Heb. parallelus has been clarified in this work, other records outside China still need to be studied. For example, another specimen (KSC 414) reported from Nagaland, northeastern India largely agrees with Herpetoreas tpser sp. nov. but differs from the latter in its strongly colored and patterned dorsal coloration, which should be identified as Heb. clerki. Furthermore, Kramer doubted the occurrence of Heb. parallelus west of 88° E and supposed that the Nepalese records might be questionable. The description of Heb. cf. parallelus from Nepal provided by Schleich et al. is similar to Herpetoreas tpser sp. nov. except for having a slightly higher number of ventrals (163–172 vs. 153–167) and a pair of parietal spots (vs. absent).

Behavior: All known specimens were collected in daytime, on a cloudy or mildly rainy day; this species is possibly diurnal. The species has a fierce disposition and bites when handled, often holding the mouth open while on the defensive. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet tpser (pronounced as “/tɪpsər/”) is the acronym of “Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research” of China, which greatly promoted the scientific research of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. All specimens of Herpetoreas tpser sp. nov. were collected during The First/The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research. 
  • Che J, Jiang K, Yan F, Zhang Y. 2020. Amphibians and Reptiles in Tibet––Diversity and Evolution. Science Press, Beijing, China. 803 pp
  • 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. 2023. Liste der im Jahr 2022 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2023 (3): 48-73
  • 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
  • Li P. P., Zhao E. M., Dong B. J. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Tibet. [In Chinese] Beijing: Science Press, 251 pp.
  • Ren, J.-L.; Jiang, K.; Huang, J.-J.; David, P.; Li, J.-T. 2022. Taxonomic Review of the Genus Herpetoreas (Serpentes: Natricidae), with the Description of a New Species from Tibet, China. Diversity 14: 79 (38 pp.) - get paper here
  • Zhao Ermi; Li Shengquan 1987. The herpetofaunal composition and characteristics of Mount Namjagbarwa, Tibet. Acta Herpetologica Sinica 6 (2): 36-42 - get paper here
  • 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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