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Homalopsis mereljcoxi MURPHY, VORIS, MURTHY, TRAUB & CUMBERBATCH, 2012

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Higher TaxaHomalopsidae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesJack’s Water Snake 
SynonymHomalopsis mereljcoxi MURPHY, VORIS, MURTHY, TRAUB & CUMBERBATCH 2012
Homalopsis buccata — MORICE 1875: 58
Homalopsis mereljcoxi — GEISSLER 2012
Homalopsis mereljcoxi — MURPHY & VORIS 2014: 24
Homalopsis mereljcoxi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 335 
DistributionThailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Type locality: Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Wang Nam Khieo, Udon Sap (subdistrict), Ban Badan Reservoir (14°31’04” N, 101°58’25” E).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: FMNH 263756, female, collected 16 June 2004 by Daryl R. Karns and John C. Murphy. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Homalopsis mereljcoxi has a single loreal contacting upper labials 1–4; 40–47 scale rows at mid- body, reduced to 30 or more posteriorly; two postocular scales plus a postsubocular; 13 (12–14) upper labials; and ventral counts that are usually greater than 165. Homalopsis buccata has 33–40 dorsal scale rows at midbody, reduced to less than 30 posteriorly; one postocular scale plus a postsubocular scale; and a ventral count that is less than 166. Homalopsis hardwickii has a divided loreal contacting upper labials 1–4; 39 scale rows at midbody reduced to 28 posteriorly; one postocular scale and no presubocular scale; 159 ventrals. Homalopsis nigroventralis has upper labials 1–3 contacting the loreal; 35–39 dorsal scale rows at midbody, reduced to less than 30 posteriorly; 10–12 upper labials; 159–167 ventrals; and a reverse color pattern 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; one postocular and one postsubocular [MURPHY et al. 2012].
 
CommentSimilar species: has been frequently confused with H. buccata until it was described as separate species by MURPHY et al. 2012.

Illustration: Photographs of this snake can be found in: Cox (1991: 223, pl 61), Cox et al. (1998: 42), Lim & Lee (1988: 70), Manthey & Grossmann (1997: 356), and Murphy (2007: 194).

Diet: fish 
EtymologyThis new species is named in in honor of Merel “Jack” Cox, for his years of dedication to the study of the snakes of Thailand. 
References
  • Geißler, P. 2012. Neues aus Indochina - die Amphibien und Reptilien des Cat-Tien-Nationalparks in Südvietnam. Terraria-Elaphe 2012 (5): 72-77 - get paper here
  • Murphy, J.C. & Voris, H.K. 2014. A Checklist and Key to the Homalopsid Snakes (Reptilia, Squamata, Serpentes), with the Description of New Genera. FIELDIANA: LIFE AND EARTH SCIENCES (8): 1–43 - get paper here
  • MURPHY, JOHN C.; HAROLD K. VORIS, B.H.C.K. MURTHY, JOSHUA TRAUB & CHRISTINA CUMBERBATCH 2012. The masked water snakes of the genus Homalopsis Kuhl & van Hasselt, 1822 (Squamata, Serpentes, Homalopsidae), with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 3208: 1–26
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - 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.
 
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