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Rhabdophis callistus (GÜNTHER, 1873)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Boettger’s Keelback 
SynonymTropidonotus callistus GÜNTHER 1873
Tropidonotus callistus — MÜLLER 1895: 863
Rhabdophis callistus — DE LANG & VOGEL 2005
Rhabdophis callistus — DE LANG & VOGEL 2006
Rhabdophis callistus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 634 
DistributionIndonesia (Sulawesi = Celebes)

Type locality: “Sine patria” (fide HARDING & WELCH 1980)  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 72.46.124 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Juveniles of Rhabdophis callistus can be identified almost exclusively on the basis of their striking colour and pattern. Since pictures of adult specimens are not available, for them we have to rely upon the above description of body characteristics and the head and body scales counts. Further, the twenty-one mid-body scale rows distinguish both R. callistus and R. chrysargoides from the doubtful Sulawesi species R. chrysargos (nineteen scale rows) and R. subminiatus subminiatus (nineteen, rarely seventeen rows). Juveniles of Rhabdophis callistus may be confused with juveniles of Rhabdophis chrysargoides, which have more or less the same pattern, but different colours. The most striking differences are in the vertebral band (greenish-olive in R. callistus, pink-orange in R. chrysargoides), the yellow longitudinal band beneath the dark band on the sides (present in R. callistus, absent in R. chrysargoides) and the two black longitudinal bands on the belly (present in R. callistus, present or absent in R. chrysargoides). [from DE LANG & VOGEL 2006]. 
CommentSome species of this genus are venomous although we do not have information about this particular species.

Synonymy: Boulenger 1897: 219 thought that Tropidonotus callistus “is nothing but the young of T. chrysargoides, the short head and brilliant coloration of the former being juvenile characters which gradually disappear with age. Two to four post-oculars temporals 2+2 or 2+3; eight or nine upper labials, fourth and fifth, fifth and sixth, or fourth, fifth, and sixth entering the eye. Ventrals 148 -160 ; subcaudals 70-85.” 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1897. A catalogue of the reptiles and batrachians of Celebes with special reference to the collections made by Drs P & F Sarasin in 1893-1896. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1897: 193-237 [p228-237: batrachia] - get paper here
  • Doria, Giuliano; Massimo Petri, aDriana Bellati, MiCaela tiso & Erika Pistarino 2013. RHABDOPHIS IN THE MUSEUM OF GENOVA WITH DESCRIPTION AND MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF A NEW SPECIES FROM SUMATRA (REPTILIA, SERPENTES, COLUBRIDAE, NATRICINAE). Annali del Museo Civico di storia naturale “G. Doria” 105: 139-153
  • Günther,A. 1873. Notes on some reptiles and batrachians obtained by Dr. Bernhard Meyer in Celebes and the Philippine Islands. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1873: 165-172 - get paper here
  • Koch, A. 2012. Discovery, Diversity, and Distribution of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi and its offshore islands. Edition Chimaira, 374 pp. [ISBN 978-3-89973-432-4] - get paper here
  • Lang, Ruud de & G. Vogel 2005. The snakes of Sulawesi. A field guide to the land snakes of Sulawesi with identification keys. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, 25, Frankfurt am Main, 312 pp.
  • Lang, Ruud de & Vogel, G. 2006. The Snakes of Sulawesi. Herpetologica Bonnensis II: 35-38 - get paper here
  • Müller,F. 1895. Reptilien und Amphibien aus Celebes. (II. Bericht). Verh. naturf. Ges. Basel 10: 862-869 - 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.
  • Wanger, T. C., I. Motzke, S. Saleh & D. T. Iskandar 2011. The amphibians and reptiles of the Lore Lindu National Park area, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Salamandra 47 (1): 17-29 - get paper here
  • ZHU, GUANG-XIANG; YING-YONG WANG,HIROHIKO TAKEUCHI & ER-MI ZHAO 2014. A new species of the genus Rhabdophis Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Colubridae) from Guangdong Province, southern China. Zootaxa 3765 (5): 469–480 - get paper here
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