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Natrix helvetica (LACÉPÈDE, 1789)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesNatrix helvetica helvetica (LACÉPÈDE 1789)
Natrix helvetica cetti GENÉ 1839
Natrix helvetica corsa (HECHT 1930)
Natrix helvetica sicula (CUVIER 1829) 
Common NamesE: Banded Grass Snake
G: Barren-Ringelnatter 
SynonymColuber helveticus LACÉPÈDE 1789 (nomen protectum)
Coluber vulgaris RAZOUMOWSKY 1789
Coluber Helvetus DONNDORFF 1798 (in error)
Coluber scopolianus DAUDIN 1803 (nomen oblitum)
Coluber Jenisonii GISTEL 1848
Tropidonotus natrix britannicus HECHT 1930
Natrix natrix helvetica — THORPE 1975
Natrix natrix helvetica — HENLE 1980
Natrix natrix helvetica — VANNI & LANZA 1983: 174
Natrix helvetica — TREPTE 1993
Natrix natrix helvetica — PAWLOWSKI & KRÄMER 2009
Natrix natrix helvetica — FRITZ et al. 2012
Natrix helvetica — KINDLER et al. 2017
Natrix helvetica — KINDLER et al. 2017
Natrix helvetica — SPEYBROECK et al. 2020

Natrix helvetica cetti GENÉ 1839
Natrix Cetti GENÉ 1839
Tropidonotus natrix cetti — HECHT 1930: 307
Natrix natrix cetti — VANNI & LANZA 1983: 176
Natrix cetti cetti — VANNI & CIMMARUTA 2010
Natrix natrix cetti — SCHMID 2013
Natrix natrix cetti — LUNGHI et al. 2016
Natrix helvetica cetti — KINDLER et al. 2017
Natrix natrix cetti — LUNGHI et al. 2018
Natrix natrix cetti — LUNGHI et al. 2019
Natrix natrix cetti — FRITZ & SCHMIDTLER 2020: 656

Natrix helvetica corsa (HECHT 1930)
Tropidonotus natrix corsus HECHT 1930: 308
Natrix natrix corsa — DELAGUERRE & CHEYLAN 1992: 82
Natrix cetti corsa — VANNI & CIMMARUTA 2010
Natrix helvetica corsa — KINDLER et al. 2017

Natrix helvetica sicula (CUVIER 1829)
Coluber bipes GMELIN 1789 (nomen oblitum)
Coluber tyrolensis GMELIN 1789 (nomen oblitum)
Coluber bipedalis BECHSTEIN 1802 (nomen oblitum)
Coluber scopolianus DAUDIN 1803 (nom. nov., nomen oblitum)
Coluber viperinus RAFINESQUE 1814 (nom. invalidum)
Vipera vissena RAFINESQUE 1814 (nomen oblitum)
Coluber siculus CUVIER 1829 (nomen protectum)
Natrix torquata var. Senescens MINÀ PALUMBO 1863
Tropidonotus natrix var. nigri­torquata NINNI 1880
Tropidonotus natrix var. sicula — BOETTGER 1880: 141
Tropidonotus natrix var. bulsanensis GREDLER 1882
Natrix natrix sicula — MERTENS 1928
Tropidonotus natrix siculus — HECHT 1930: 302
Natrix helvetica lanzai KRAMER 1971
Natrix natrix lanzai — SCHWARZER et al. 1982
Natrix natrix calabra VANNI & LANZA in LANZA 1983
Natrix natrix sicula — VANNI & LANZA 1983: 173
Natrix natrix sicula — SCHLÜTER 2009
Natrix natrix calabra — CORTI 2013
Natrix helvetica sicula — KINDLER et al. 2017
Natrix helvetica lanzai — KINDLER et al. 2017
Natrix helvetica sicula — SCHULTZE et al. 2020
Natrix helvetica sicula — FRITZ & SCHMIDTLER 2020: 656 
DistributionEngland (UK), Netherlands, Luxembourg, W Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Italy

cetti: Italy (Sardinia); Type locality: villages Fonni and Monte di San Giovanni d’Igelsias.

corsa: France (Corsica); Type locality: Korsika

sicula S Italy, Sicily

vulgaris, helvetica: Type locality: Jorat, Switzerland  
Reproductionoviparous. 
TypesHolotype: unlocated, apparently not in MNHN-RA fide I. Ineich, pers. comm. 21 May 2019.
Lectotype: MZUT R1734, designated by Fritz & Schmidtler 2020 [cetti]
Holotype: private collection, given as “Sammlung Kramer”, adult male [lanzai]
Holotype: lost, was ZMB (lost fide Fritz & Schmidtler 2020) [corsa]
Holotype: MNHN-RA 3317, collected by Bibron in Sicilia [sicula] 
Diagnosis 
CommentDistribution: see maps for N. natrix and N. helvetica and their various clades in Kindler et al. 2018. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013.

Synonymy: see Fritz & Schmidtler 2020 for a detailed synonymy. SCHULTZE et al. 2020 synonymized Natrix helvetica lanzai with N. h. sicula. Schultze et al. also found no evidence for the distinctiveness of the two subspecies from Corsica (N. h. corsa) and Sardinia (N. h. cetti), suggesting their synonymy, but refrained from taxonomic conclusions because of small sample sizes and the endangered status of the Sardinian taxon. Coluber vulgaris Razoumowsky, 1789 becomes a junior secondary homonym of Natrix vulgaris Laurenti, 1768 when transferred to the genus Natrix and thus, according to Articles 57 and 59 of the Code, invalid and does not threaten the usage of Natrix helvetica for the barred grass snake (Fritz et al. 2020).

Subspecies: THORPE (1975) recognized only 4 subspecies: natrix, cetti, corsa, and helvetica (with N. n. natrix to include cypriaca, fusca, gotlandica, persa, schweizeri, scutata, and syriaca and helvetica to include helvetica, astreptophora, lanzai, and sicula). SOCHUREK (1979) suggested to recognize N.n. algirus. Natrix natrix helvetica was sometimes considered as valid species. Kindler et al. 2013, 2017 found many mismatches between morphologically defined taxa and mitochondrial clades (see e.g. Fig. S1 in Kindler et al. 2017), hence the Natrix natrix species complex may be difficult to diagnose morphologically.

Hybridization: In the French Pyrenees region, N. n. astreptophora and N. n. helvetica hybridize occasionally. N. n. astreptophora differs consistently from all other grass snakes by its reddish iris coloration and in having significantly fewer ventral scales and another skull morphology. Natrix natrix helvetica hybridizes very little with N. n. natrix (Kindler et al. 2018) although FRITZ et al. 2012 stated that they “hybridize extensively”. A hybrid zone of N. h. helvetica and N. h. sicula in Italy is wide, with a smooth cline for nuclear markers, supporting their
subspecies status (Schultze et al. 2020).

NCBI taxon ID: 1768100 [helvetica helvetica]
NCBI taxon ID: 1080240 [cetti]
NCBI taxon ID: 1080239 [corsa]
NCBI taxon ID: 1080238 [lanzai] 
References
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