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Xenochrophis flavipunctatus (HALLOWELL, 1860)

IUCN Red List - Xenochrophis flavipunctatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Yellow-Spotted Keelback
G: Gelbflecken-Fischnatter 
SynonymAmphiesma flavipunctatum HALLOWELL 1860: 503
Natrix piscator flavipunctata — SMITH 1943
Xenochrophis flavipunctatus — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 397
Xenochrophis flavipunctatus — PAUWELS et al. 2000
Xenochrophis flavipunctatus — VOGEL & DAVID 2006
Xenochrophis flavipunctatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 797 
DistributionIndia, Thailand, Myanmar, S China, West Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh

Type locality: Island of Hongkong [Hong Kong] and Canton River?, China  
TypesHolotype: USNM 7387, from Java (in the Greater Sundas, Indonesia). 
CommentSynonymy: Might be a synonym of Xenochrophis piscator; see discussion in Zhao & Adler. Xenochrophis flavipunctatus melanozostus is now treated as a valid species by several authors [e.g. DAS 1997, Hamadryad 22: 43]. But note that COX et al. (1998) include X. flavipunctatus in X. piscator. Xenochrophis flavipunctatus schnurrenbergeri KRAMER 1977 has been elevated to full species status. See also Xenochrophis piscator.

VIDAL et al. (2007) placed Xenochrophis in the family Natricidae.

Distribution: Possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012).

Abundance: Common in Thailand and other places, active at dusk.

Habitat: mostly aquatic.

Taxonomy: Although Boie's (1826) redescription of Trop. (= Tropidonotus) melanozostus is generally quoted as the original description of the taxon (see for example, Smith, 1943: 293), the first usage was by Gravenhorst (1807).

Description: This species is characterized by (1) a dorsal pattern made of small dark blotches and streaks, larger on the sides; (2) small, white or yellow dorsolateral dots; (3) a well-defi ned nuchal marking, always appearing as a direct V (at the exception of two specimens from North Thailand); (4) two well-defi ned subocular streaks, the posterior one extending from the eye to the corner of the mouth then meeting the V- marking; (5) ventral and subcaudal scales all with entire, broad, dark margins; (6) a rather low number of ventral scales in males. The number of ventrals in males is lower than in X. piscator, but there is a wide overlap in females. X. flavipunctatus is very variable in colouration and in dorsal pattern, but this variability is not geographically correlated. The colouration of a specimen found in Singapore may have the same colour than one from South China. There are often some red or yellow hues on the forepart of the body [VOGEL & DAVID 2006].

Behavior: diurnal. 
  • Ahsan, M.F.; Haidar, I.K.A. & Rahman, M.M. 2015. Status and diversity of snakes (Reptilia: Squamata: Serpentes) at the Chittagong University Campus in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7 (14): 8159–8166 - get paper here
  • Chan-ard, T., Parr, J.W.K. & Nabhitabhata, J. 2015. A field guide to the reptiles of Thailand. Oxford University Press, NY, 352 pp. [see book reviews by Pauwels & Grismer 2015 and Hikida 2015 for corrections] - get paper here
  • Das, I. 2012. A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of South-East Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford J, ohn Beaufoy Publishing - get paper here
  • Das,I. 1996. Biogeography of the Reptiles of South Asia. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida
  • 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
  • Geissler, Peter, Truong Quang Nguyen, Nikolay A. Poyarkov & Wolfgang Böhme 2011. New records of snakes from Cat Tien National Park, Dong Nai and Lam Dong provinces, southern Vietnam. Bonn zoological Bulletin 60 (1): 9-16 - get paper here
  • Gravenhorst, J. L. C. 1807. Vergleichende Übersicht des Linneischen und einiger neueren zoologischen Systeme, nebst dem eingeschalteten Verzeichnisse der zoologischen Sammlung des Verfassers und den Beschreibungen neuer Thierarten, die in derselben vorhanden sind. Heinrich Dietrich, Göttingen: i-xvi + 1-476. - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. Lee; Thy Neang, Thou Chav, Perry L. Wood, Jr., Jamie R. Oaks, Jeremy Holden, Jesse L. Grismer, Thomas R. Szutz and Timothy M. Youmans 2008. Additional amphibians and reptiles from the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in Northwestern Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia, with comments on their taxonomy and the discovery of three new species. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 56 (1): 161-175 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L.L., Neang, T., Chav, T. & Grismer, J.L. 2008. Checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of the Cardamom region of Southwestern Cambodia. Cambodian Journal of Natural History 2008(1): 12–28 - get paper here
  • Grossmann,W. & Tillack,F. 2001. Bemerkungen zur Herpetofauna des Khao Lak, Phang Nga, thailändische Halbinsel. Teil II: Reptilia: Serpentes; Testudines; Diskussion. Sauria 23 (1): 25-40 - get paper here
  • Hallowell, E. 1861. Report upon the Reptilia of the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, under command of Capt. John Rogers, U. S. N. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 12 [1860]: 480 - 510 - get paper here
  • HARTMANN, Timo; Flora IHLOW, Sarah EDWARDS, SOVATH Sothanin, Markus HANDSCHUH and Wolfgang BÖHME 2013. A Preliminary Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in Northern Cambodia. Asian Herpetological Research 4 (1): 36–55 - get paper here
  • Kramer, E. 1977. Zur Schlangenfauna Nepals. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 84 (3): 721-761. - get paper here
  • Le, Dzung Trung; Anh Ngoc Dao, Dat Thang Pham, Thomas Ziegler, and Truong Quang Nguyen 2018. New records and an updated list of snakes from Yen Bai Province, Vietnam Herpetology Notes 11: 101-108 - get paper here
  • Lenz, Norbert 2012. Von Schmetterlingen und Donnerdrachen - Natur und Kultur in Bhutan. Karlsruher Naturhefte 4, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, 124 pp.
  • Manthey, U. & Grossmann, W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 512 pp. - get paper here
  • Pauwels, O.S.G.; David, P.; Chimsunchart, C. & Thirakhupt, K. 2003. Reptiles of Phetchaburi Province, Western Thailand: a list of species, with natural history notes, and a discussion on the biogeography at the Isthmus of Kra. Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 3 (1): 23-53 - get paper here
  • Pauwels, Olivier S. G. and Grismer, L. Lee 2016. Book Review: A Photographic Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Lowland Monsoon Forests of Southern Vietnam Herpetological Review 47 (4): 700-701
  • Pauwels,O.S.G. et al. 2000. Herpetological investigations in Phang-Nga Province, southern Peninsular Thailand, with a list of reptile species and notes on their biology. Dumerilia 4 (2): 123-154 - get paper here
  • Poo, Sinlan, Mary-Ruth Low and Anne Devan-Song. 2016. Xenochrophis flavipunctatus (Yellow-spotted Keelback Watersnake). Herpetological Review 47 (2): 319
  • Sang, Nguyen Van; Ho Thu Cuc, Nguyen, Quang Truong 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 pp.
  • 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.
  • Taylor,E.H. 1965. The serpents of Thailand and adjacent waters. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 45 (9): 609-1096 - get paper here
  • Vidal, Nicolas; Anne-Sophie Delmas, Patrick David, Corinne Cruaud, <br />Arnaud Couloux, S. Blair Hedges 2007. The phylogeny and classification of caenophidian snakes inferred from seven nuclear protein-coding genes. C. R. Biologies 330: 182–187 - get paper here
  • Vogel, G. & Patrick David 2006. On the taxonomy of the Xenochrophis piscator complex (Serpentes, Natricidae). Herpetologica Bonnensis II: 241-246 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Zhao,E. & Adler,K. 1993. Herpetology of China. SSAR, Oxford/Ohio, 1-522
  • Ziegler, T. 2002. Die Amphibien und Reptilien eines Tieflandfeuchtwald-Schutzgebietes in Vietnam. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 342 pp. - get paper here
  • ZIEGLER, T., RAUHAUS, A., TRAN, T.D., PHAM, C.T., VAN SCHINGEN, M., DANG, P.H., LE, M.D. & NGUYEN, T.Q. 2015. Die Amphibien- und Reptilienfauna der Me-Linh-Biodiversitätsstation in Nordvietnam Sauria 37 (4): 11-44 - get paper here
  • ZIEGLER, THOMAS; RALF HENDRIX, VU NGOC THANH, MARTINA VOGT, BERNHARD FORSTER & DANG NGOC KIEN 2007. The diversity of a snake community in a karst forest ecosystem in the central Truong Son, Vietnam, with an identification key. Zootaxa 1493: 1-40 - get paper here
  • 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.
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