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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 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. John Anderson (1833-1900), a naturalist and Professor of Natural History at Free Church College, Edinburgh. He became Curator of the Indian Museum, Calcutta (1865). 
  • 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
  • Francis, A. 2021. A field guide to the snakes of Hong Kong. Regal Printing, Hong Kong - 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.
  • Orlov, N. L., S. A. Ryabov, N. Van Sang and N. Q. Truong 2003. New records and data on the poorly known snakes of Vietnam. Russ. J. Herpetol. 10: 217-240 - get paper here
  • 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, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • 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 - get paper here
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