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Elaphe quadrivirgata (BOIE, 1826)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Japanese Four-lined Ratsnake
G: Japanische Vierstreifennatter
Russian: Малочешуйчатый полоз 
SynonymColuber quadrivirgatus BOIE 1826: 209
Coluber vulneratus BOIE 1826: 212 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Coluber virgatus TEMMINCK & SCHLEGEL 1837 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Compsosoma quadrivirgatum — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 301
Elaphis quadrivirgatus — GÜNTHER 1858: 94
Elaphis bilineatus HALLOWELL 1860: 497 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Leptophidium dorsale HALLOWELL 1860: 498 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Elaphis quadrivirgatus var. interrupta JAN 1867 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Elaphis quadrivirgatus var. atra JAN 1867 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Coluber quadrivirgatus — BOULENGER 1894: 59
Elaphe quadrivirgata — STEJNEGER 1907: 327
Elaphe quadrivirgata — SCHULZ 1996: 205
Elaphe quadrivirgata — UTIGER et al. 2002
Elaphe quadrivirgata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 262 
DistributionJapan (Yakushima, Tanegashima, Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu, Oki, Izu Seven Islands, Hokkaido),
Russia: Kunashir Island (Kuril Islands)

Type locality: Japan (Boie, 1826)  
TypesHolotype: unlocated, a 775 mm specimen (Blomhoff) (fide V. Wallach, pers. comm.)
Holotype: USNM 7497 [Leptophidium dorsale]
Holotype: USNM 4677 [Elaphis bilineatus] 
CommentNot on the Ryukyu Islands (fide Koji Tanaka, pers. comm.)

Diet: The diet of E. quadrivirgata on Kinkasan Island almost exclusively consisted of a frog, Rana tagoi, which is the only amphibian species inhabiting Kinkasan Island (Akira & Nagata 2016). Otherwise this species is a dietary generalist. 
  • Alexander, Donald R.;Diener, Richard A. 1958. A collection of amphibians and reptiles from Japan. Copeia 1958 (3): 218-219 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Boie. H. 1826. Merkmale einiger japanischer Lurche. lsis von Oken, Jena. 18-19: 203 - 216 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - 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
  • Dunaev E.A., Orlova V.F. 2017. Amphibians and reptiles of Russia. Atlas and determination. 2nd. ed. Moscow: Phyton XXI, 328 p
  • Goris, R.C. 1963. Observation on the egg-crushing habits of the Japanese Four-Lined Rat Snake, Elaphe quadrivirgata (Boie) Copeia 1963 (3): 573-575. - get paper here
  • Goris, R.C. & Maeda, N. 2004. Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Japan. Krieger, Malabar, 285 pp.
  • Günther, A. 1858. Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • 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
  • Itoh, Masahiro; Sasaki, Motomichi; Makino, Sajiro. 1970. The chromosomes of some Japanese snakes, with special regard to sexual dimorphism. Japanese Journal of Genetics 45(2):121-128 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1867. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 24. Livraison. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • Kojima, Yosuke 2017. Elaphe quadrivirgata (Japanese Four-lined Ratsnake) Diet and mortality. Herpetological Review 48 (1): 211 - get paper here
  • Kuriyama, T., Misawa, H., Miyaji, K., Sugimoto, M., and Hasegawa, M. 2013. Pigment cell mechanisms underlying dorsal color-pattern polymorphism in the Japanese four-lined snake. Journal of Morphology 274: 1353–1364 - get paper here
  • Matsubara, Kazumi;Chizuko Nishida, Yoichi Matsuda, and Yoshinori Kumazawa 2016. Sex chromosome evolution in snakes inferred from divergence patterns of two gametologous genes and chromosome distribution of sex chromosome-linked repetitive sequences. Matsubara et al. Zoological Letters (2016) 2:19 - get paper here
  • Matsubara, Y., Kuroiwa, A. and Suzuki, T. 2016. Efficient harvesting methods for early-stage snake and turtle embryos. Development, Growth & Differentiation, doi: 10.1111/dgd.12278 - get paper here
  • Mori, A. 1991. Effects of Prey Size and Type on Prey-handling Behavior in Elaphe quadrivirgata Journal of Herpetology 25 (2): 160-166. - get paper here
  • Mori, A. 1996. A Comparative Study of the Development of Prey Handling Behavior in Young Rat Snakes, Elaphe quadrivirgata and E. climacophora Herpetologica 52 (3): 313-322. - get paper here
  • Mori, A., K. Tanaka, H. Moriguchi and M. Hasegawa 2005. [Color variations in Elaphe quadrivirgata throughout Japan]. Bulletin of the Herpetological Society of Japan 2005(1):22-38 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Mori,M. 1982. Japans Schlangen, Vols. 1-3 (80, 102, 123 pp.). Tokyo (Igaku-Shoin Ltd.) [bilingual edition in German and Japanese]
  • Murakami A, Hasegawa M, Kuriyama T. 2017. Developmental mechanisms of longitudinal stripes in the Japanese four-lined snake. Journal of Morphology, DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20750 - get paper here
  • Murakami, Arata; Masami Hasegawa, and Takeo Kuriyama 2014. Identification of Juvenile Color Morphs for Evaluating a Heredity Model of Stripe/Non-Stripe Pattern Polymorphism in the Japanese Four-Lined Snake Elaphe quadrivirgata. Current Herpetology Feb 2014, Vol. 33, No. 1: 68-74. - get paper here
  • Nishiumi, Nozomi; Akira Mori 2020. A game of patience between predator and prey: waiting for opponent’s action determines successful capture or escape. Canadian Journal of Zoology - get paper here
  • Ota, H. & Tanaka, K. 2002. Natural history of two colubrid snakes, Elaphe quadrivirgata and Rhabdophis tigrinus , on Yakushima Island, southwestern Japan. Amphibia-Reptilia 23 (3): 323-331 - get paper here
  • Philpot, V.B., Jr. 1954. Neutralization of snake venom in vitro by serum from the nonvenomous Japanese snake Elaphe quadrivirgata Herpetologica 10 (3): 158-160. - get paper here
  • Rijst, H. van der 1990. Growth and maturity of Elaphe quadrivirgata (Boie). Litteratura Serpentium 10 (5): 225-228 - get paper here
  • Schulz, K. D. 1996. Eine Monographie der Schlangengattung Elaphe Fitzinger. Bushmaster, Berg (CH): 1-460
  • Schulz, K.-D. 1987. Die hinterasiatischen Kletternattern der Gattung Elaphe, Teil 9 - Elaphe quadrivirgata (BOIE, 1826). Sauria 9 (2): 3-6 - get paper here
  • Schulz, Klaus-Dieter 1996. A monograph of the colubrid snakes of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger. Koeltz Scientific Books, 439 pp.
  • Stejneger, LEONHARD H. 1907. Herpetology of Japan and adjacent territory. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 58: xx, 1-577 - get paper here
  • Suzuki, Dai and Yoshiko Yamane. 2015. Elaphe quadrivirgata (Japanese four-lined ratsnake) diet. Herpetological Review 46 (2): 273 - get paper here
  • Tanaka, Koji 2010. Phenotypic Plasticity of Body Size in an Insular Population of a Snake. Herpetologica 67 (1): 46-57. - get paper here
  • Utiger, Urs, Notker Helfenberger, Beat Schätti, Catherine Schmidt, Markus Ruf and Vincent Ziswiler 2002. Molecular systematics and phylogeny of Old World and New World ratsnakes, Elaphe Auct., and related genera (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 9 (2): 105-124. - 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.
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