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Rhabdophis tigrinus (BOIE, 1826)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Tiger Keelback
G: Tiger-Wassernatter, Tigernatter
Russian: Тигровый уж
Chinese: 虎斑颈槽蛇 
SynonymTropidonotus tigrinus BOIE 1826: 205
Amphiesma tigrinum — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 732
Amphiesma tigrinum — HALLOWELL 1860: 499
Tropidonotus orientalis GÜNTHER 1861: 391
Tropidonotus orientalis GÜNTHER 1862: 59
Tropidonotus tigrinus — GÜNTHER 1888: 171
Tropidonotus tigrinus — BOULENGER 1893: 249
Tropidonotus tigrinus — BOULENGER 1896: 607
Natrix tigrina — STEJNEGER 1907: 272
Natrix tigrina tigrina — MAKI 1931: 42
Natrix tigrina — ALEXANDER & DIENER 1958
Rhabdophis tigrina — MALNATE 1960
Rhabdophis tigrina — KHARIN 2011
Rhabdophis tigrinus — TAKEUCHI et al. 2012
Rhabdophis tigrinus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 637
Rhabdophis lateralis — PIAO et al. 2020
Rhabdophis tigrinus — PIAO et al. 2020 
DistributionE Russia (Primorskiy and Khabarovsk territories)
North Korea, South Korea
China (widely distributed, except western third and extreme south; Chekiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hupeh, Guizhou, Sichuan, Gansu, Shensi, Suiyuan, Yunnan), Taiwan,
Japan (Yakushima, Taegashima, Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu, Ryukyu Islands)

lateralis: Asian mainland

tigrinus: Japan

formosanus: Taiwan

Type locality: “Japan”, “Dejima of Nagasaki City, eastern Kyushu, Japan” (fide Zhao & Adler, 1993).  
TypesSyntypes: ZFMK 8406, ZFMK 8407, BMNH 1861.12.27.9 (possibly additional specimens could neither be traced in RMNH nor in ZMA fide Böhme 2014). 

Nomenclature: “tigrina” fide KHALIKOV 1998 (pers. comm.).

Distribution: not listed for Vietnam (by SANG et al. 2009).

Synonyms: R. lateralis is closely related to R. tigrinus but genetically distinct. Some authors treat it as synonym of tigrinus but more recent authors tend to treat it as valid.

Diet: The diet of R. tigrinus on Kinkasan Island exclusively consisted of a frog, Rana tagoi, which is the only amphibian species inhabiting Kinkasan Island (Akira & Nagata 2016), but occasionally toads (Yoshida et al. 2020).

Morphology: Rhabdophis is only one of three genera that posseses nuchal glands which contain cardiotonic steroid toxins known as bufadienolides. Rhabdophis tigrinus sequesters bufadienolides from its toad prey and stores them in the nuchal glands as a defensive mechanism (Takeuchi et al. 2018). 
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  • Augstenová, Barbora; Sofia Mazzoleni, Lukáš Kratochvíl Orcid and Michail Rovatsos 2017. Evolutionary Dynamics of the W Chromosome in Caenophidian Snakes. Genes 2018, 9(1), 5; doi:10.3390/genes9010005 - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas 1909. Notes on Amphibia and Reptilia from Eastern Asia. Proc. New England zool. Club 4: 53-78, 2 plates - get paper here
  • Berthold,A.A. 1859. Einige neue Reptilien des akad. zoolog. Museums in Göttingen. Nachr. Georg-August-Univ. Königl. Ges. Wiss. Göttingen, 1859 (17): 179-181
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  • Boie. H. 1826. Merkmale einiger japanischer Lurche. lsis von Oken, Jena. 18-19: 203 - 216 - get paper here
  • Borczyk, Bartosz; Iwona Gottfried 2020. Is the tiger keelback Rhabdophis tigrinus lateralis a feeding specialist? Herpetology Notes 13: 495-496 - 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. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Caldwell, K. R. 2012. Rhabdophis tigrinus (tiger keelback) Elaphe quadrivergata (Japanese striped snake) predator-prey interaction. Herpetological Review 43: 350 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M.C., G. BIBRON & A.H.A. DUMÉRIL 1854. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire Naturelle complète des Reptiles. Vol. 7 (partie 1). Paris, xvi + 780 S. - get paper here
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  • Glass, Bryan P. 1946. A collection of reptiles from Hunan and Anhwei provinces, China. Copeia 1946 (4): 249-252 - get paper here
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  • Mori, Akira and Eiko Nagata 2016. Relying on a Single Anuran Species: Feeding Ecology of a Snake Community on Kinkasan Island, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Current Herpetology Aug 2016, Vol. 35, No. 2: 106-114. - get paper here
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