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Lycodon multifasciatus (MAKI, 1931)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common Names 
SynonymDinodon septentrionale multifasciatum MAKI 1931
Lycodon ruhstrati multifasciatus — MORI 1984
Lycodon ruhstrati multifasciatus — GORIS & MAEDA 2004: 236
Lycodon multifasciatus — VOGEL & BRACHTEL 2008
Lycodon multifasciatus — VOGEL et al. 2009
Lycodon multifasciatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 395 
DistributionJapan (Ryukyu Islands: Yaeyama group (Iriomotejima and Ishigakijima) and Miyako group (Miyakojima)).

Type locality: Type locality. “Ishigaki-Oshima, Loo Choo Islands”, now Ishigaki-jima, Yaeyama Islands, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan.  
TypesHolotype: KIU “a” (adult female), College of Science, Kyoto Imperial University. Collected by S. Nishiishigaki, April 1929. Now NSMT H02643, fide TORIBA 1993. 
CommentL. (r.) multifasciatus is classified as “near threatened” in Japan (Ota 2000).

Diagnosis. A species of the genus Lycodon, characterized by: (1) a loreal not touching the orbit; (2) 17 dorsal scale rows at the forepart of the body and at midbody; (3) upper dorsal and vertebral rows keeled; (4) 232-237 ventrals in males and 229-235 in females; (5) 115-119 Sc in males and 106117 in females; (6) relative tail length about 0.25 (Mori 1984) in males and about 0.244 (type) in females; (7) 54-80 dark bands on a light body; (8) the first band starting at about Ve 7. This species can be recognized by its pattern, which rather looks like dark rings on a light background rather than the dark background with light rings in other species. It also differs by the number of rings on body (54-80 vs less than 46 in all other species). It has keeled dorsal rows and a higher number of ventral scales than all other species of this complex (229-237, all other species have 228 scales or less). Maxillary teeth are unknown. For a detailed comparisons with other species of Lycodon see Discussion in VOGEL et al. 2009. 
EtymologyEtymology. This specific name is based on the Latin adjectives multus, meaning “many” or “numerous”, and “fasciatus”, banded, due to the high number of dorsal bands in this taxon. 
  • Goris, R.C. & Maeda, N. 2004. Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Japan. Krieger, Malabar, 285 pp.
  • Maki, M. 1931. Monograph of the Snakes of Japan. Dai-ichi Shobo, Tokyo. (1), 7, 240 pages (expanded edition 1933)
  • Ota, H. 2000. Current status of the threatened amphibians and reptiles of Japan. Popul. Ecol. 42: 5-9
  • Toriba, M. 1993. Present location of the type specimens described by Maki. The Snake 25: 71-72
  • Vogel, G. & Brachtel, N. 2008. Contribution to the knowledge of Lycodon ruhstrati (FISCHER, 1886) in Vietnam - taxonomy and biology of a little-known species. Salamandra 44 (4): 207-224 - get paper here
  • Vogel, G., T. Q. Nguyen, P. Kingsada & T. Ziegler 2012. A new species of the genus Lycodon BOIE, 1826 from Laos (Squamata: Colubridae). North-Western Journal of Zoology, 8: 344-352 - get paper here
  • Vogel, G.; David, P.; Pauwels, O.S.G.; Sumontha, M.; Norval, G.; Hendrix, R.; Vu, N.T. & Ziegler, T. 2009. A revision of Lycodon ruhstrati (Fischer 1886) auctorum (Squamata Colubridae), with the description of a new species from Thailand and a new subspecies from the Asian mainland. Tropical Zoology 22: 131-182 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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