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Trimerodytes balteatus COPE, 1895

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Hainan Mountain Keelback
Chinese: 横纹环游蛇 
SynonymTrimerodytes balteatus COPE 1895: 426
Opisthotropis balteata POPE 1935
Liparophis Bedoti PERACCA 1904: 664
Opisthotropis multicinctata FAN 1931: 82
Opisthotropis multicincta FAN 1931 (fide ZHAO & ADLER 1993)
Trimerodytes balteatus — MELL 1931 [1929]
Opisthotropis balteatus — SMITH 1943: 331
Opisthotropis balteatus — BROWN & LEVITON 1961
Opisthotropis balteata — ZIEGLER et al. 2008
Opisthotropis balteata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 508
Trimerodytes balteatus — REN et al. 2019: 117
Trimerodytes balteata — FRANCIS 2021 
DistributionN Vietnam, China (Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Hong Kong)

Type locality: Hainan Island, China.  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 11435; MCZ ? 
DiagnosisDiagnosis Trimerodytes balteatus can be diagnosed from other morphologically similar species by a combination of the following characters: (1) body cylindrical, TL 604–1 021 mm; (2) tail relatively moderate, TaL/TL 0.15–0.24; (3) head moderately distinct from neck; (4) nostrils directed dorsolaterally; (5) eyes moderate, EW/ SoL 0.86–1.38; (6) maxillary teeth mostly 16–19, slightly enlarged posteriorly, without diastema; (7) dorsal scale rows 19-19-17; (8) prefrontal single, spindle-shaped; (9) supralabials 9–10, usually 4th or 5th entering orbit; (10) ventrals 187–205; (11) dorsal scales smooth anteriorly, smooth or feebly keeled at midbody, tending to be moderately keeled rear body and on tail, outer most three or four dorsal scale rows along both sides of body smooth entirely before cloaca; (12) body brownish-red or brownish-yellow, encircled by 32–54 black bands with yellow centers, 13–28 present on tail; (13) venter yellowish-beige, with annulated or alternating black bands (Figures 2A, 3D, 4, 5A–B; Tables 3–4 in Ren et al. 2019). 
CommentHabitat: aquatic, inhabiting flowing streams.

Synonymy: partly after Zhao & Adler 1993.

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

Behavior: nocturnal

Type species: Trimerodytes balteatus COPE 1895: 426 is the type species of the genus Trimerodytes COPE 1895. Trimerodytes was resurrected from the synonymy of Opisthotropis as a senior synonym of Sinonatrix (which was synonymized with Trimerodytes by Ren et al. 2019).

Comparisons (genera): Ren et al. 2019: 121 (Table 6) provide a morphological comparison of natricine genera (Opisthotropis, Paratapinophis, Isanophis, Trimerodytes balteatus, Hebius annamensis, Trachischium fuscum/guentheri, Rhabdops bicolor, Atretium yunnanensis, Pseudagkistrodon rudis multiprefrontalis).

Distribution: not in Cambodia fide Ren et al. 2019. 
EtymologyThe generic nomen of Trimerodytes is a noun made of three parts: (1) the Ancient Greek τρία “tría”, meaning “three”; (2) the Ancient Greek μέρος “méros”, meaning part, component, or region; and (3) the Greek “dytēs”, meaning diver or swimmer. The generic nomen refers to the three-parted (black-yellow-black) annulated markings and the aquatic life of the type species T. balteatus. The gender of this generic name is masculine (Ren et al. 2019).

The specific epithet, balteatus, is a Latin adjective that means girded or belted. The term may be used to describe the distinctive annulated markings of this species. 
  • 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
  • Cope, E.D. 1895. On a collection of Batrachia and Reptilia from the Island of Hainan. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia XLVI [1894]: 423-428 - 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
  • Fan, TSANG-HOW. 1931. Preliminary report of reptiles from Yashan, Kwangsi, China. Bull. Dept. Biol. Coll. Sci. Sun Yatsen Univ., Canton, 11 (4): 1-154 - get paper here
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  • REN, Jinlong; Kai WANG, Peng GUO, Yingyong WANG, Tao Thien NGUYEN, and Jiatang LI 2019. On the Generic Taxonomy of Opisthotropis balteata (Cope, 1895) (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae): Taxonomic Revision of Two Natricine Genera. Asian Herpetological Research 10 (2): 105–128; DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.180091 - 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.
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  • 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.
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