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Homalopsis semizonata BLYTH, 1855

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Higher TaxaHomalopsidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Martaban Water Snake 
SynonymHomalopsis semizonata BLYTH 1855: 187
Pythonia semizonata — BLYTH, 1859: 279
Pythonella semizonata — CARLLEYLE, 1869: 200 (lapsus for Pythonia)
Homalopsis buccata – THEOBALD 1868: 58 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – THEOBALD 1868: 66 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – NICHOLSON 1874: 62 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – THEOBALD 1876: 185 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – BOULENGER 1887: 475 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – SCLATER 1891: 53 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – BOULENGER 1893: 309 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – BOULENGER 1896: 16 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – WALL & EVANS 1901: 616 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – WALL 1903: 94 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – ROOIJ 1917: 186 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – WALL 1923: 38 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – HUNDLEY 1964: 22 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – DOWLING & JENNER 1988: 4 (part.)
Homalopsis buccata – MURPHY 2007: 193 (part.)
Homalopsis semizonata — MURPHY & VORIS 2014: 25
Homalopsis semizonata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 335 

Type Locality: Mottama (formerly Martaban), Myanmar.  
TypesHolotype: ZSI 8137, collected by Major Berdmore 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Homalopsis semizonata has a divided or fragmented loreal contacting upper labials 1–4 or 1–5; three prefrontals; 39–44 dorsal scale rows at midbody, reduced to more than 30 posteriorly; one postocular and one postsubocular. Homalopsis buccata has a single loreal contacting upper labials 1-4; two prefrontals; 33–40 dorsal scale rows at midbody, reduced to less than 30 posteriorly; H. hardwickii has two prefrontal scales; 39 scale rows at midbody reduced to 28 posteriorly. Homalopsis nigroventralis has upper labials 1–3 contacting the loreal; two pre- frontals; 35–39 dorsal scale rows at midbody, reduced to less than 30 posteriorly; one or two postocular scales plus one postsubocular scale; and a reverse color pattern on the venter (dark olive-gray with white spots). H. mereljcoxi has a single loreal contacting upper labials 1–4; two prefrontals; 40–47 scale rows at midbody, reduced to 30 or more posteriorly; two postocular scales plus a postsubocular [MURPHY et al. 2012].

Original description: “Homalopsis semizonata, nobis. This is remarkably fine species has not of a little the aspect of Viper, from the small scales of its seize, the subdivision of its head plates, and the general colouring. Form moderately thick; the body with 39 rows of small strongly carinated scales. Vertical plate transversely divided into two; the anterior portion triangular, with apex to the front; the posterior semicircular and behind the latter is a remarkable range of five small plates, the medial being elongated backwards between the occipitals and posterior to this again is a minute inter-occipital: occipitals curiously scalloped each with three incisions; one posterior, one exterior, and one interior: two pairs of frontals; a freanal and a post-nasal. Colour pale yel- lowish-brown, marked on the upper-parts with about 36 semi annuli, which are of a blackish hue on the edges, paler within; on the hinder part of the body and tail are some black spots on the pale inter-spaces; and a medial black streak from the occiput it continued to the second transverse semi-annulus; a triangular black spot on the snout; also a blackish eye-streak; and a small spots on each occipital: lower-parts with two irregular rows of dark spots from throat to vent, bordering the scutae; and the sub-caudal scutellae are marked throughout with black. Number of scutae, 168; scutellae, 78 pairs. Length of specimen 27 in., of which tails is 6 in. It is remarkable that abdominal scute begin to divide obliquely as they approach the vent, the last two or three assuming the appreance of pairs of scutellae” [BLYTH 1855, cited from MURPHY et al. 2012]. 
CommentSynonymy after MURPHY et al. 2012. 
  • Blyth, E. 1855. Collections presented by Capt. Beddome and Mr. Theobald. J. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, Calcutta, 24: 187 - get paper here
  • Blyth, E. 1859. Of reptiles,... J. Asiatic Society of Bengal, 28:279 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1887. An account of the reptiles and batrachians obtained in Tenasserim by M. L. Fea, of the Genova Civic Museum. Ann. Mus. civ. stor. nat. Genova, 2. Ser. 5: 474-486 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Carlleyle, A.C.L. 1869. Descriptions of two new species, belonging to the genera Varanus, and Feranioides respectively, from near Agra. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 38: 192-200 - get paper here
  • de Rooij, N. DE 1917. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Il. Ophidia. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 334 S. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Hundley, H.G. 1964. Checklist of Burmese Reptiles. H.G. Hundley, Kyi, Burma, 32 pp.
  • Murphy, J.C. & Voris, H.K. 2014. A Checklist and Key to the Homalopsid Snakes (Reptilia, Squamata, Serpentes), with the Description of New Genera. FIELDIANA: LIFE AND EARTH SCIENCES (8): 1–43 - get paper here
  • Murphy, John C. 2007. Homalopsid Snakes: Evolution in the Mud. Krieger Publishing, Malabar, Florida, 249 pp.
  • MURPHY, JOHN C.; HAROLD K. VORIS, B.H.C.K. MURTHY, JOSHUA TRAUB & CHRISTINA CUMBERBATCH 2012. The masked water snakes of the genus Homalopsis Kuhl & van Hasselt, 1822 (Squamata, Serpentes, Homalopsidae), with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 3208: 1–26 - get paper here
  • Sclater, W. L. 1891. List of snakes in the Indian Museum. Trustees of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, 79 pp. - get paper here
  • Theobald, William 1868. Catalogue of the reptiles of British Birma, embracing the provinces of Pegu, Martaban, and Tenasserim; with descriptions of new or little-known species. Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 10: 4-67. - get paper here
  • Theobald, WILLIAM 1868. Catalogue of reptiles in the Museum of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. J. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, Calcutta, 37 (extra number 146): (2), vi, 7-88 - get paper here
  • Theobald,W. 1876. Descriptive catalogue of the reptiles of British India. Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta: xiii + 238 pp. - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1903. A prodromus of the snakes hitherto recorded from China, Japan, and the Loo Choo Islands, with some notes. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1903: 84-102 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1923. How to Identify the Snakes of India. F. Wall, Karachi, 56 pp
  • Wall, F. and Evans, G.H. 1901. Notes on Ophidia collected in Burma from May to December, 1899. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 13: 343-354 [1900] - 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.
  • Zug, G.R. & Mulcahy, D.G. 2019. Identification guide Amphibians and reptiles of South Tanintharyi. Fauna & Flora International, 101 pp.
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