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Opisthotropis maxwelli BOULENGER, 1914

IUCN Red List - Opisthotropis maxwelli - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesMaxwell's Mountain Keelback 
SynonymOpisthotropis maxwelli BOULENGER 1914: 483
Opisthotropis maxwelli — BROWN & LEVITON 1961
Opisthotropis maxwelli — ZHAO 2006: 242
Opisthotropis maxwelli — LI et al. 2010
Opisthotropis maxwelli — WALLACH et al. 2014: 510 
DistributionChina (SW Fujian, Guangx ?i, S Jiangxi, SE Guangdong), elevation 425–1000 m

Type locality: “South Fokien, China” = Southern Fukien = Fujian Province, China.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This species is characterized by the combination of (1) TL 319–442 mm; (2) tail relatively long, TaL 20–23% of TL; (3) rostral small, RW 28–32% of HW; (4) nasal in contact with first and second supralabials ventrally; (5) nasal cleft invariably pointing to the apex angle of first supralabial; (6) loreal not entering orbit, 1.4–1.7 times as long as deep; (7) supralabials 6–7, the last one longest; (8) infralabials 8; (9) dorsal scale rows 17:17:17; (10) dorsal scales smooth on the anterior neck, those following feebly keeled, rather strongly keeled on posterior part of body up to the tail; (11) ventrals 147–157, subcaudals 53–62; (12) olive-brown to olive- green above in life, body and tail with distinct or barely perceptible longitudinal black stripes, crossing each scale; yellow beneath, ventral surface of head and tail mottled with blackish grey (Wang et al. 2017).
CommentO. maxwelli (Boulenger, 1914) was described originally from a single female specimen, and re-described based on six old, faded specimens (Zhao et al. 1998). Thus, the pattern and coloration in life are not known.

Habitat: aquatic, inhabiting flowing streams.

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

Behavior: nocturnal 
Etymologynamed after the collector of the types, Mr. J. Preston Maxwell. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, GEORGE A. 1914. Descriptions of new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (8) 14 (84): 482-485. - 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.
  • 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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