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Opisthotropis spenceri SMITH, 1918

IUCN Red List - Opisthotropis spenceri - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Spencer’s Stream Snake, Smith's Mountain Keelback
G: Spencers Bachnatter 
SynonymOpisthotropis spenceri SMITH 1918: 13
Opisthotropis spenceri — SMITH 1943: 333
Opisthotropis spenceri — BROWN & LEVITON 1961
Opisthotropis spenceri — TAYLOR 1965: 839
Opisthotrophis [sic] spenceri — CHAN-ARD et al. 1999: 35
Opisthotropis spenceri — DAVID et al. 2011
Opisthotropis spenceri — WALLACH et al. 2014: 510 

Type locality: “Muang Ngow, N. Siam” = Ngao, Lampang Province, N Thailand.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.15.31, adult female 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Taylor 1965: 839 
CommentHabitat: aquatic, inhabiting flowing streams.

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

Behavior: nocturnal

Similar species: Opisthotropis durandi

Abundance: Since its discovery in September 1917, only three specimens of O. spenceri have been recorded, all from the type locality (Nabhitabhata et al. 2004, Teynié et al. 2014). 
EtymologyNamed after F. D. Spencer, who collected the holotype. Unfortunately Smith gives no personal details about Spencer. He may be the same F. D. Spencer who was a prominent Freemason in Bombay (1908), where he was Master of his Lodge. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - 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
  • Chan-ard, T., Parr, J.W.K. & Nabhitabhata, J. 2015. A field guide to the reptiles of Thailand. Oxford University Press, NY, 352 pp. [see book reviews by Pauwels & Grismer 2015 and Hikida 2015 for corrections] - get paper here
  • Chan-ard,T.; Grossmann,W.; Gumprecht,A. & Schulz,K. D. 1999. Amphibians and reptiles of peninsular Malaysia and Thailand - an illustrated checklist [bilingual English and German]. Bushmaster Publications, Würselen, Gemany, 240 pp. [book review in Russ. J Herp. 7: 87] - get paper here
  • Chuaynkern, Y. et al. 2014. Opisthotropis spenceri SMITH, 1918 (SERPENTES: NATRICIDAE): THE THIRD AND FOURTH SPECIMENS. J. Wildlife Thailand 2 (1 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Smith, M.A. 1918. Description of a new snake (Opisthotropis spenceri) from Siam. J. Nat. Hist. Soc. Siam 3: 13 - 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.
  • Taylor,E.H. 1965. The serpents of Thailand and adjacent waters. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 45 (9): 609-1096 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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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