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Gerarda prevostiana (EYDOUX & GERVAIS, 1837)

IUCN Red List - Gerarda prevostiana - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaHomalopsidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Gerard's Water Snake, Cat-eyed Water Snake, Glossy Marsh snake
G: Katzenaugen-Wassertrugnatter 
SynonymColuber (Homalopsis) prevostianus EYDOUX & GERVAIS 1837: 5
Gerarda bicolor GRAY 1849 (fide SMITH 1943)
Campylodon Prevostianum — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 964
Gerarda prevostiana — COPE 1862: 1
Heleophis flavescens MÜLLER 1884 (fide SMITH 1943)
Helipophis flavescens MÜLLER 1884: 286 (fide MURPHY & VORIS 2014, in error)
Gerardia prevostiana — WALL 1905: 307
Gerardia prevostiana — WALL 1921: 262
Gerardia prevostiana — SMITH 1943: 394
Gerardia prevostianus — DAS 1996: 56
Gerarda prevostiana — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 353
Gerarda prevostiana — COX et al. 1998: 42
Gerardia prevostiana — SHARMA 2004
Gerarda prevostiana — MURPHY & VORIS 2014: 20
Gerarda prevostiana — WALLACH et al. 2014: 306 
DistributionIndia (coastal Maharashtra, N Kerala, Gujarat), S Myanmar (= Burma), Sri Lanka, Thailand ?, Philippines, S Cambodia,
Bangladesh ?; West Malaysia; Singapore, Indonesia (Borneo: Sarawak)

Type locality: “Manille” (= Manila, 14°37' N, 120°58' E, Luzon, Philippines)  
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 3758 and MNHN-RA 7593; Holotype: unknown (fide DAS 2013) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Nasal scales separated by the internasal, dorsal scales smooth in 17 rows at mid-body; and loreal scale present. This monotypic genus is perhaps most easily mistaken for its sister lineage Fordonia, which has 25–29 scale rows at mid- body (MURPHY & VORIS 2014). 
CommentHistory: The year of description of this species has been given as “1822”; we cannot find a paper by Eydoux & Gervais from that year, but another paper published in 1837 is available online.

Diet: mainly crabs. The Gerard's water snake tears its prey into bite-sized pieces, in contrast to most other snakes (Jayne et al. 2002).

Habitat: marshes, mangroves and tidal rivers in the costal areas, i.e. partially “marine”.

Mildly venomous.

Type species: Coluber (Homalopsis) prevostianus EYDOUX & GERVAIS 1837 is the type species of the genus Gerarda GRAY 1849. 
EtymologyNamed after Florent Prevost (or Prevot) (d. 1870), a French artist and writer who illustrated works by Temminck, Bonaparte, and Buffon.

Etymology (genus): Beolens et al. (2011) were not able to track down the origin of the name Gerarda, but several people with “Gerard” as first or last name had sent specimens to Gray. The name Gerardia is preoccupied. 
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  • 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
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  • Cope, E.D. 1862. The dentition of the Siamese river snake, Herpeton tentaculatum. The native country of Gerarda prevostiana. On Rhabdosoma (Catostoma) lineatum. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 1862: 1 - get paper here
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