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Opisthotropis andersonii (BOULENGER, 1888)

IUCN Red List - Opisthotropis andersonii - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Anderson's Mountain Keelback
Chinese: 香港后棱蛇 
SynonymCalamohydrus (Homalopsinarum) Andersonii BOULENGER 1888
Opisthotropis andersonii — BOULENGER 1891
Opisthotropis andersonii — BOULENGER 1893: 284
Opisthotropis andersoni — SMITH 1943: 333
Opisthotropis andersoni — BROWN & LEVITON 1961
Opisthotropis andersonii — LI et al. 2010
Opisthotropis andersonii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 508 
DistributionChina (Hong Kong), Vietnam

Type locality: Hong Kong.  
TypesType: BMNH 1901.9.14.11 possibly (not marked as type currently) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This species is characterized by the combination of (1) TL 378–462 mm in adult specimens; (2) TaL 15–20% of TL; (3) rostral concave, slightly large, RW 31–37% of HW; (4) nasal in contact with first and second supralabials; (5) loreal more than twice as long as deep; (6) loreal entering orbit or not, in contact with second to fourth or to fifth supralabials; (7) supralabials 7–8, the last one significantly smaller than the adjacent preceding one; (8) infralabials 7–10; (9) dorsal scale rows 17:17:17; (10) dorsal scales smooth on the neck, feebly keeled on the middle part of body, rather strongly keeled on posterior part of body, strongly keeled on the tail; (11) ventrals 141–174; subcaudals 43–60; (12) olive-green to olive-brown above, with distinct or barely perceptible longitudinal black stripes parallel to each other, crossing each scale; yellow beneath, with black markings in life (Wang et al. 2017: 401).
CommentOpisthotropis andersonii (Boulenger, 1888) was described originally from a single juvenile specimen and was re-described based on two specimens deposited in the Natural History Museum, London (Zheng 1992).

Habitat: aquatic, inhabiting flowing streams.

Diet: fishes, frogs, tadpoles, freshwater shrimp and earthworms.

Behavior: nocturnal 
EtymologyThe generic name comes from Greek οπισθε, opisthe, meaning “posterior, backwards”, and the noun Τροπις, tropis, the keel of a ship. The gender of the genus is feminine. 
  • 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. 1891. Remarks on the herpetological fauna of Mount Kina baloo, North Borneo. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 7: 341-345 - 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
  • Boulenger,G.A. 1888. Description of two new snakes from Hongkong, and note on the dentition of Hydrophis viperina. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 2: 43-44 - get paper here
  • Brown,W.C. & Leviton,A.E. 1961. Discovery of the snake genus Opisthotropis in the Philippine Islands, with description of a new species. Occasional Papers of the Natural History Museum of Stanford University (8): 1-11
  • DAVID, PATRICK; CUONG THE PHAM, TRUONG QUANG NGUYEN & THOMAS ZIEGLER 2011. A new species of the genus Opisthotropis Günther, 1872 (Squamata: Natricidae) from the highlands of Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Zootaxa 2758: 43–56 - get paper here
  • LI, Cao, LIU, Qin and GUO, Peng 2010. Expanded Description of a Chinese Endemic Snake Opisthotropis cheni (Serpentes: Colubridae: Natricinae). Asian Herpetological Research 1 (1): 57-60 - get paper here
  • Mell,R. 1931. List of Chinese snakes. Lingnan Sci. Jour., Canton, 8 [1929]: 199-219.
  • Nguyen, S.V., Ho, C.T. and Nguyen, T.Q. 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 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.
  • TEYNIÉ, ALEXANDRE; ANNE LOTTIER, PATRICK DAVID, TRUONG QUANG NGUYEN & GERNOT VOGEL 2014. A new species of the genus Opisthotropis Günther, 1872 from northern Laos (Squamata: Natricidae). Zootaxa 3774 (2): 165–182 - 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.
  • WANG, YING-YONG; QIANG GUO, ZU-YAO LIU, ZHI-TONG LYU, JIAN WANG, LIN LUO, YAN-JUN SUN, YAN-WU ZHANG 2017. Revisions of two poorly known species of Opisthotropis Günther, 1872 (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) with description of a new species from China. Zootaxa 4247(4): 391-412; DOI: - get paper here
  • YANG, JIAN-HUAN; YIK-HEI SUNG & BOSCO PUI-LOK CHAN 2013. A new species of the genus Opisthotropis Günther, 1872 (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Guangdong Province, China. Zootaxa 3646 (3): 289–296 - get paper here
  • YANG, JIAN-HUAN; YING-YONG WANG, BING ZHANG, MICHAEL WAI-NENG LAU & WEN-HAO CHOU 2011. Revision of the diagnostic characters of Opisthotropis maculosa Stuart and Chuaynkern, 2007 with notes on its distribution and variation, and a key to the genus Opisthotropis (Squamata: Natricidae). Zootaxa 2785: 61–68 - 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.
  • Ziegler, Thomas; Patrick David, Vu Ngoc Thanh 2008. A new natricine snake of the genus Opisthotropis from Tam Dao, Vinh Phuc Province, northern Vietnam (Squamata, Colubridae). Zoosystematics and Evolution 84 (2): 197 -203
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