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Xenochrophis bellulus (STOLICZKA, 1871)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Burmese White-barred Keelback 
SynonymTropidonotus bellulus STOLICZKA 1871: 191
Tropidonotus bellulus STOLICZKA 1871: 432
Tropidonotus bellulus — BOULENGER 1890
Tropidonotus trianguligerus — BOULENGER 1893: 224 (in part)
Natrix bellula — SMITH 1943: 298
Sinonatrix bellula — ROSSMAN & EBERLE 1977
Xenochrophis bellula — MALNATE & UNDERWOOD 1988: 195
Sinonatrix bellula — MCDOWELL & JENNER 1988
Sinonatrix bellula — RAO & YANG 1998
Xenochrophis bellulus — PAUWELS et al. 2001
Xenochrophis bellula — WALLACH et al. 2014: 797
Xenochrophis bellulus — LEE et al. 2018 
DistributionMyanmar (= Burma)

Type locality: ‘‘Prome, near Pegu’’ (now Pyay, Bago Region, Myanmar). Neotyp[e locality: Moyingyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary, Bago Region, Myanmar (17°35’27.4’’ N, 96°34’24.5’’ E; 3 m. in elevation).  
TypesNeotype: USNM 587200, Adult female, designated by Leet al. 2018, collected on Jul 2003 by Sai Wunna Kyi and Thet Win. Original holotype: Lost, according to Smith (1943). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Including data from Stoliczka (1871) and Smith (1943). Xenochrophis bellulus is separated from all other Southeast Asian natricine snakes by the following set of characteristics: (1) dark olive-brown to jet black dorsal coloration with anterior transverse bars dissipating around midbody; (2) supralabials and infralabials light cream with black sutures; (3) a single light dot on each parietal scale and one occipital scale bordering the parietals; (4) nine (rarely 10) supralabials, with the 4th–6th in contact with the eye; (5) dorsal scales keeled, 19–19–17 rows; (6) 135–144 unkeeled ventrals; (7) 63–83 unkeeled paired subcaudals; (8) single anterior temporal scale; (9) tail length 27.0%–30.0% of the total length; (10) bilobed hemipenis with large basal hooks, elongate spines on the tip of each lobe and a shallowly forked sulcus spermaticus; and (11) short, slender asymmetrical hemipenial lobes slightly separated from the rest of the hemipenial body, with the left lobe shorter and smaller in size compared to the right lobe [Lee et al. 2018]. 
CommentSynonymy: MALNATE & UNDERWOOD 1988 placed Tropidonotus bellulus in the genus Xenochrophis but noted that this assignment was made “with some insecurity”. Boulenger (1893) synonymized this species with Tropidonotus trianguligerus F. Boie, 1827 (= Xenochrophis trianguligerus) with some reservations (i.e. with a question mark). 
Etymology‘bellulus’’ is a diminutive of the word ‘‘bellus’’ which roughly means ‘‘pretty little one’’ or ‘‘beauty’’ in Latin. 
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Dowling, H.G., & Jenner, J.V. 1988. Snakes of Burma: checklist of reported species and bibliography. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (76): 19 pp. - get paper here
  • Lee, Justin L.; Gernot Vogel, Aryeh H. Miller, and George R. Zug 2018. Rediscovery of Xenochrophis bellulus (Stoliczka, 1871) from Myanmar (Serpentes: Natricinae) with comments on its taxonomic status. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 131(1):19-35 - get paper here
  • Malnate E V; Underwood G 1988. Australasian natricine snakes of the genus Tropidonophis. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES OF PHILADELPHIA 140 (1) : 59-201 - get paper here
  • Pauwels,O.S.G.; David, P., Nutphand, W. & Chimsunchart, C. 2001. First record of Xenochrophis punctulatus (GÜNTHER 1858) (Serpentes: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Thailand. Hamadryad 26 (2): 247-252 - get paper here
  • Rao, DING QI & D. T. YANG. 1998. A new species of Sinonatrix (Serpentes: Colubridae) of China with preliminary survey on Sinonatrix. Russ. J. Herpetol. 5 (1): 70-73. - 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.
  • Stoliczka, F. 1871. Notes on some Indian and Burmese Ophidians. [abstract] J. asiat. Soc. Bengal, Calcutta, 40: 191-192 (main paper as 421-445) - get paper here
  • Stoliczka,F. 1871. Notes on some Indian and Burmese Ophidians. Proc. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 1871: 191-192 - 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.
  • Zug, G. R., J. H. Blackburn III, S. W. Kyi. 2006. Checkered keelbacks (Xenochrophis - Reptilia: Serpentes: Natricidae) at the Moyingyi Wetland Bird Sanctuary, Myanmar. Hamadryad 30 (1 & 2):157-166. - get paper here
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