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Homalopsis buccata (LINNAEUS, 1758)

IUCN Red List - Homalopsis buccata - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaHomalopsidae, Serpentes (snakes) 
SubspeciesHomalopsis buccata nigroventralis DEUVE 1970
Homalopsis buccata buccata (LINNAEUS 1758) 
Common NamesE: Puff-faced Water Snake, Masked Water Snake
G: Boa-Wassertrugnatter 
SynonymColuber buccatus LINNAEUS 1758: 217
Vipera buccata - DAUDIN 1803
Homalopsis buccata - SCHLEGEL 1837
Homalopsis buccatus - DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 968
Coluber monilis LINNAEUS 1758: 221
Homalopsis monilis - BOIE 1827
Coluber horridus DAUDIN 1803
Homalopsis horridus - KUHL & HASSELT 1822
Homalopsis buccata — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 356
Homalopsis buccata — COX et al. 1998: 42
Homalopsis buccata — SANG et al. 2009

Homalopsis buccata nigroventralis DEUVE 1970
Homalopsis nigroventralis — STUART et al. 2006
Homalopsis nigroventralis — MURPHY 2007
Homalopsis nigroventralis — MURPHY et al. 2012 
DistributionBangladesh; Myanmar (= Burma), Cambodia; Thailand; Vietnam;
Indonesia (Bangka, Belitung, Borneo, Java, Kalimantan, Riau Archipelago, Sulawesi, Sumatra);
Laos; W Malaysia (Malaya); Singapore;
NE India ?; Nepal; Pulau Bangka

Type locality: “Indiis” (in error; given erroneously as “India” by MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997); restricted to Singapore by by MURPHY et al. 2012. Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
TypesHolotype: ZIUS, lost (fide Andersson 1899, SANG et al. 2009)
Neotype: FMNH 250114 (designated by MURPHY et al. 2012) 
CommentDistribution: The latest record of this species from Sulawesi is from DE ROOIJ, 1917. DE LANG & VOGEL (2005) thus consider this species as doubtful for this island. Reports from Nepal are based on Zug & Mitchell 1995.

Reproduction: viviparous.

Type species: Coluber horridus DAUDIN 1803 is the type species of the genus Homalopsis KUHL & VAN HASSELT 1822.

Diagnosis (genus): Homalopsis can be distinguished from all other Southeast Asian snakes by their keeled and striated scales in 33–49 rows at midbody; crescent-shaped valvular nostrils; lower labials posterior to the eye are horizon- tally divided; and enlarged plates (frontal and parietals) on the crown. Snakes of the genus Cerberus are the species most likely to be confused with Homalopsis; however, Cerberus have fewer than 30 scales rows at midbody and the frontal and parietals are ‘fragmented’ into small irregular scales [MURPHY et al. 2012].

Diagnosis: Homalopsis buccata has a single loreal contacting upper labials 1-4; two prefrontals; 33–40 dorsal scale rows at midbody, usually reduced to less than 30 posteriorly; one postocular scale plus a postsubocular scale; 12 (11–14) upper labials; and a ventral count that is less than 166. Homalopsis hardwickii has a divided loreal con- tacting upper labials 1–4; one postocular scale and no presubocular scale. Homalopsis nigroventralis has upper labials 1–3 contacting the loreal; one or two postocular scales plus one postsubocular scale; and a reverse color pat- tern on the venter (dark olive-gray with white spots). Homalopsis semizonata has a divided or fragmented loreal contacting upper labials 1–4 or 1–5; three prefrontals; 39–44 dorsal scale rows at midbody, reduced to more than 30 posteriorly; one postocular and one postsubocular. The new species, H. mereljcoxi, has a single loreal contacting upper labials 1–4; 40–47 scale rows at midbody, reduced to 30 or more posteriorly; two postocular scales plus a postsubocular; and ventral counts that are usually greater than 165 [MURPHY et al. 2012].

H. nigroventralis has a dark ventral surface with pale spots, the reverse of the pattern found in H. buccata; H. nigroventralis also has two or three postoculars and a postsubocular in contrast to the one postocular plus a postsubocular in H. buccata; and the loreal is contacted by upper labials 1–3 in H. nigroventralis but upper labials 1–4 in H. buccata.

Conservation: Homalopsis is harvested in large numbers at Tonle Sap, Cambodia for its skin and protein (Brooks et al. 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; Murphy 2007).

Size: max length: 100-120 cm 
References
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