Hebius modestus (GÜNTHER, 1875)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Hebius modestus?
|Higher Taxa||Colubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Modest Keelback|
|Synonym||Tropidonotus modestus GÜNTHER 1875: 232|
Tropidonotus modestus — BOULENGER 1893: 229
Tropidonotus johannis SMITH 1921 (non BOULENGER; fide SMITH 1943)
Nerodia modesta — WALL 1923
Natrix modesta — MELL 1929: 5
Natrix modesta — SMITH 1943: 290
Amphiesma modesta — MALNATE 1960
Paranatrix modesta — MAHENDRA 1984
Amphiesma modesta — COX et al. 1998: 45
Amphiesma modestum — ZHAO et al. 2000: 205
Amphiesma modesta — SHARMA 2004
Amphiesma modestum — ZHAO 2006
Hebius modestum — GUO et al. 2014
Amphiesma modestus — GUO et al. 2014: 432
Hebius modesta — GUO et al. 2014: 428
Hebius modestum — GUO et al. 2014: 437
Amphiesma modestum — WALLACH et al. 2014: 31
Hebius modestus — ZHOU et al. 2019
Hebius modestus — DAVID et al. 2021
|Distribution||India (Meghalaya; Arunachal Pradesh), Myanmar (= Burma: Kachin; Shan), China (Yunnan)|
Type locality: Khasi Hills, India
|Types||Holotype: BMNH 1918.104.22.168|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A moderately sized species of the genus Hebius characterized by the combination of (1) 19-19-17 dorsal scale rows, barely or weakly keeled at midbody and on the posterior part of the body, smooth on 1st DSR; (2) dorsal scales around the base of the tail weakly keeled; (3) head moderately distinct from the neck; (4) eye large; (5) maxillary teeth 27–30, the last two moderately enlarged; (6) tail long, with a ratio TaL/TL at least equal to 0.28 in females, up to 0.32 in males; (7) VEN 143–163; (8) SC 104–122; (9) prefrontal scales 2; (10) 1 or rarely 2 anterior temporals, rectangular and elongate; (11) venter pale ochre-brown or pale brown on a wide central area, broadly edged with dark brown or blackish on the outer quarter of ventrals, rarely entirely dark except on its most anterior part; (12) dorsal colour dark greyish-brown, brown or dark brown; (13) dorsum usually scattered with blackish-brown or black spots or blotches; (14) on each side, a more or less conspicuous, ochre-yellow, ochre-red, orange-brown or reddish-brown stripe, often reduced to a succession of elongate blotches on the anterior part of the body, extending from the nape to the base of the tail on 4th–7th or 5th–7th DSR, often but not always irregularly edged below and above by a series of large blackish-brown blotches; (15) no postocular streak; and (16) a short but broad, horizontal, pale yellowish-brown streak on the sides of the neck before the dorsolateral stripe, plus a streak on the nape behind the parietals (David et al. 2021).|
Comparisons. Hebius modestus differs from the group of H. venningi, i.e., H. venningi, H. taronensis and H. nigriventer, with which it might be sympatric in northern India and Myanmar (Kachin State) by (1) the number of 19 DSR at midbody; (2) the general dorsal pattern, usually striped and with dark blotches above and below the dorsolateral stripe vs. not striped but chequered or, in H. nigriventer, with conspicuous, large dorsolateral blotches; (3) venter usually widely pale along its whole length, edged with blackish-brown, rarely entirely dark except on its most anterior part vs. (a) venter pale (coral red in life) mesially, on the anterior part of the body and dark, clouded posteriorly in H. venningi; (b) venter both pale and dark, i.e. with a pale background on its anterior part with irregular dark crossbands and nearly uniform on its posterior part in H. taronensis and (c) venter nearly entirely very dark in H. nigriventer; and (4) a conspicuous yellow streak on the sides of the neck (David et al. 2021).
Sexual dimorphism: (1) difference in the ratio TaL/TL: males: 0.320–0.326 (mean = 0.323, s = 0.003); females: 0.288–0.307 (mean = 0.299, s = 0.007). (2) Strongly by the difference in the number of subcaudals: males: 113–122 (mean = 117.0, s = 3.2); females: 104–109 (mean = 107.0, s = 2.2)(David et al. 2021).
|Comment||Type species: Mahendra (1984) designated Tropidonotus modestus Günther 1875 as the type species of his genus Paranatrix.|
Distribution: possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012). Records from Vietnam are questionable according to DAVID et al. (2005). Not in Assam, Mizoram (India), not in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, not in Guizhou, Guangdong (China), not in Mizoram (India), the specimen depicted by Ahmed et al. (2009: 154) as Amphiesma cf. modestum is a specimen of Hebius venningi, fide P. David, pers. comm., 20 Apr 2021).
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