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Opisthotropis zhaoermii REN, WANG, JIANG, GUO & LI, 2017

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Zhao’s Mountain Stream Snake
Chinese: 赵氏后棱蛇 (“Zhao Shi Hou Leng She”) 
SynonymOpisthotropis zhaoermii REN, WANG, JIANG, GUO & LI 2017
Opisthotropis zhaoermii — GAO et al. 2022 
DistributionChina (W Hunan)

Type locality: Zuolong Gorges, Guzhang, Tujia-Miao of western Hunan, China (28°42'17.88" N, 109°55'26.26" E, 561 m elevation (Figure 6 in REN et al. 2017)  
TypesHolotype: CIB 109999, adult female (field No. HNYS 20170049) (Figures 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 4A), collected by Jin-Long Ren and Si-Bo Su on 24 August 2017. Paratypes: One adult male, CIB109998 (field No. HNYS20170019) (Figures 1C, 1D, 2C, 2D) and one adult female CIB110000 (field No. HNYS20170050), collected by Jin- Long Ren and Si-Bo Su at the same locality as holotype on 22 and 23 August 2017. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis A large-sized species of Opisthotropis diagnosed by the following morphological characters: (1) head barely distinct from neck; (2) body and tail moderately slender; (3) prefrontal single, much broader than long; (4) nostrils directed upwards; (5) eyes small; (6) maxillary teeth subequal; (7) anterior neck dorsal scales smooth, middle body with faint keels, tending to moderately keeled rear body and on tail.
The new species differs from all congeners by a combination of the following characters: (1) body size large (TL 514–586 mm); (2) tail moderate (Tal/TL 0.20–0.21); (3) dorsal scale rows 17:17:17; (4) ventral scales 147–152; (5) subcaudal scales 54– 62; (6) preocular absent; (7) loreal elongated and entering orbit; (8) supralabials mostly 9 (rarely 8), fifth and sixth entering obit; (9) anterior temporals short, ToL/ToD 1.74–2.04; (10) maxillary teeth 28–30; (11) irregular yellow stripes edged with ochre present on dorsal and lateral head; (12) clear black and yellow longitudinal streaks present on dorsal and lateral body, some streaks fused to light patches or stripes anteriorly; (13) venter pale yellow in life, with asymmetric blackish speckles along outer margins. 
EtymologyNamed after renowned Chinese herpetologist, Prof. Er-Mi Zhao, who unfortunately passed away on 24 December 2016. Designation of this specific epithet honors his great contribution to herpetological research in China. See Zhao et al. 2017 and Adler 2017 for biographical details. 
  • Adler, K. 2017. Obituary: Ermi Zhao (1930-2016) and the modern development of herpetology in China. Herpetological Review 48 (4): 921-926 - get paper here
  • GAO, ZHIWEI; TIANYU QIAN, JIANPING JIANG, DEJIA HOU, XUEJIAN DENG & DAODE YANG. 2022. Species diversity and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Hunan Province, China. Biodiversity Science 30 (2): 21290, 1–15 - get paper here
  • Ren, Jin-Long; Kai Wang, Ke Jiang, Peng Guo, Jia-Tang Li 2017. A new species of the Southeast Asian genus Opisthotropis (Serpentes: Colubridae: Natricinae) from western Hunan, China. Zoological Research 38(5): 251-263 - get paper here
  • 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
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