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Xenopeltis hainanensis HU & ZHAO, 1972

IUCN Red List - Xenopeltis hainanensis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaXenopeltidae, Henophidia, Pythonoidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesChinese: 海南闪鳞蛇 
SynonymXenopeltis hainanensis HU & ZHAO in ZHAO 1972
Xenopeltis hainanensis — ZHAO & ADLER 1993: 220
Xenopeltis hainanensis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 159
Xenopeltis hainanensis jidamingae ZHAO 1995 (fide KIZIRIAN et al. 2003)
Xenopeltis hainanensis hainanensis — ORLOV 2000
Xenopeltis hainanensis jidamingae — ORLOV 2000
Xenopeltis hainanensis — NGUYEN et al. 2009
Xenopeltis hainanensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 802
Xenopeltis hainanensis — WANG et al. 2022 
DistributionChina (Guangxi east to Zhejiang and south to Hainan), Vietnam (Yen Bai etc.)

Type locality: Dali, Mt. Diaoluo, Hainan Prov.; 200 m.

jidamingae: China (Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi Zhuang); Type locality: Puyun Xiang, Longquan Co., Zhejiang Province, China (elevation 700 m.).  
TypesHolotype: CIB 64III6016, Male; 5. 15, 1964. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (). This subspecies has lower number of ventrals (152 – 157) in comparison with another subspecies (159 – 164); 16 – 19 pairs of subcaudals (Orlov 2000).

DIAGNOSIS: This new species distinctly differs from Xenopeltis unicolor Reinwardt, the monotype of the genus Xenopeltis , in having 22-24 maxillary teeth on each maxilla; one postocular; seven upper labials, the fourth and fifth of which enter the eye; 152-157 ventrals and 16-18 pairs of subcaudals. (Koshikawa’s translation of Hu et al. 1972)

DESCRIPTION: The measurement and scale counts of the two type specimens are shown in Table 1. Head relatively small, somewhat depressed; snout round
and robust, body cylindrical; tail short, about 1/13 to 1/14 of the total length. Hemipenis thick and short, with longitudinal sulcuses, no spines. When alive, back is indigo brown and has metallic luster; two series of white longitudinal spots between D1 and D3; D1 grayish white with indigo brown base. Underside
of the head light indigo gray or light brown; underside of the body and the tail's base grayish white; other part of the tail's underside indigo brown. (Koshikawa’s translation of Hu et al. 1972)

Size. Maximal body length of males is 800 mm, tail 65 mm; body length of females reaches 790 mm, individual with this maximal size has a damaged tail, female with length of body 775 mm has the tail of 54 mm (Zhao et al., 1998: 27, Orlov 2000).

Diagnosis (jidamingae). This subspecies has a higher number of ventrals (159 – 164) as opposed to 152 – 157 in the nominative subspecies; 16 – 18 pairs of subcaudals (Orlov 2000).

Size (jidamingae). Maximal body length of males from China reaches 680 mm, tail 50 mm; for females 545 and 40 mm, respectively (Zhao et al., 1998: 27). For spec- imens from Vietnam maximal body length of males is 642 mm, tail 54 mm; for females 638 and 48 mm, respectively (Orlov 2000).

Table 1 in Orlov 2000 compares characters of hainanensis and unicolor. 
CommentZhao & Adler 1993 cite the source of this species as HU & ZHAO in ZHAO 1972, (Key to Chinese snakes) although Hu et al. 1975 also describe this species as new (in “Three new species of reptiles from Hainan Island”). 
Etymologynamed after the type locality. 
  • Hu S., Djao [Zhao] E., and Huang Z. 1975. Three new species of reptiles from Hainan Island, Guangdong Province (in Chinese with English abstract). Acta Zool. Sinica, Peking, 21(4): 379-384 (English translation by Akihiro Koshikawa 1982, Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv, Washington, 53: 1-9). - get paper here
  • Hu S., Djao [Zhao] E., and Huang Z. 1982. Three new species of reptiles from Hainan Island, Guangdong Province [English translation of the original paper by Koshikawa, Akihiro]. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (53): 1-9 - get paper here
  • Kizirian, D. et al. 2003. Taxonomic status of Xenopeltis hainanensis jidamingae ZHAO. Journal of Herpetology 37 (2): 438-440 - 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
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Nguyen, S.V., Ho, C.T. and Nguyen, T.Q. 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 pp.
  • Orlov, N. L., Snetkov, P. B., Ermakov, O. A., Nguyen, T. T., & Ananjeva, N. B. 2022. Integrative Taxonomy Reveals a New Cryptic Species of Xenopeltis Gray, 1831 (Ophidia: Macrostomata: Pythonoidea: Xenopeltidae) from Central Highlands, Vietnam. Russian Journal of Herpetology 29 (4): 237-249 - get paper here
  • Orlov, Nicolai L. 2000. Distribution, biology and comparative morphology of the snakes of Xenopeltis genus (Serpentes: Macrostomata: Xenopeltidae) in Vietnam. Russ. J. Herpetol. 7 (2): 103-114 - 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.
  • Wang, C. G. M. Z. X., Jia, S. Y. K. T. L., & Hu, C. Z. J. 2022. An updated species checklist of amphibians and reptiles in Fujian Province, China. Biodiversity Science, 22090 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • Zhao, E.M. 1995. Infraspecific classification of some Chinese snakes. Sichuan Journal of Zoology, 14 (3): 107-112. - 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.
  • Zhao, ER MI [as ER MIE DJAO] 1972. Key to Chinese snakes (in Chinese). Mater. Herpetol. Res., 1, Chengdu (in Chinese).
  • Zhao, Er-mi 1997. Infraspecific classification of some Chinese snakes. Asiatic Herpetological Research 7: 170-172 - get paper here
  • Zhao,E. & Adler,K. 1993. Herpetology of China. SSAR, Oxford/Ohio, 1-522
  • 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
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