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Opisthotropis haihaensis ZIEGLER, PHAM, NGUYEN, NGUYEN, WANG, WANG, STUART, & LE, 2019

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Hai Ha Mountain Stream Keelback
Vietnamese: Rắn trán hải hà
Chinese: 海河后棱蛇 (Hai He Hou Leng She)
 
SynonymOpisthotropis haihaensis ZIEGLER, PHAM, NGUYEN, NGUYEN, WANG, WANG, STUART, & LE 2019
Opisthotropis maculosa — YANG et al. (2011) (part)
Opisthotropis maculosa — STUART & CHUAYNKERN 2007
Opisthotropis maculosa — NGUYEN et al. 2018: 74
 
DistributionVietnam (Quang Ninh), China

Type locality: forest near Tai Chi Village, Quang Son Commune, Hai Ha District, Quang Ninh Province, 950 m elevation, Vietnam [exact locality and coordinates not provided owing to threat from collection for the pet trade (below)],  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: IEBR A.2016.34 [Field No. QN 2016.91], adult female, collected by Cuong The Pham and Tan Van Nguyen on 9 May 2016 (Figs. 2–3). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of the genus Opisthotropis characterized by having the following combination of characters: (1) internasal not in contact with loreal; (2) prefrontal not touching supraocular; (3) frontal touching preocular; (4) one preocular; (5) one postocular; (6) one anterior temporal; (7) one posterior temporal; (8) supralabials eight, fourth and fifth in contact with eye; (9) 24 maxillary teeth; (10) anterior pair of chin shields longer than posterior pair; (11) ventrals 169 (+ 2 preventrals); (12) subcaudals 79; (13) 15 dorsal scale rows at neck, at midbody and before vent; (14) body and tail scales smooth; (15) chin shields yellow with brownish black mottling; (16) body and tail dorsum dark with each a light spot per scale.

Revised diagnosis: Opisthotropis haihaensis is characterized by the combination of the following characters: (1) TL 500.2–509 mm in adult females, (2) tail relatively long, TaL/TL 0.22, (3) internasal not in contact with loreal, prefrontal not touching supraocular, frontal touching preocular, (4) one preocular, one or two postocular(s), (5) temporals 1+1, (6) supralabials eight, fourth and fifth in contact with eye, (6) 22–24 maxillary teeth, (7) anterior pair of chin shields longer than posterior pair; (8) ventrals 164–169 (+ 2 preventrals), (9) subcaudals 75–79, (9) nasal cleft point- ing to the first supralabial, (10) body scales in 15–15–15 rows, (11) body scales smooth, tail scales smooth or indistinctly keeled, (12) chin shields yellow with brownish black mottling, and (13) body and tail dorsum dark, each with a light yellow spot per scale (Wang et al. 2020).

Comparisons. Only six other species of Opisthotropis and the related genus Hebius have 15 midbody dorsal scale rows (see review in Ziegler et al. 2018): O. maculosa, O. jacobi Angel & Bourret, O. voquyi, O. guangxiensis Zhao, Jiang & Huang, O. kikuzatoi (Okada & Takara), and H. annamensis Bourret (which may have 15 or 17 midbody dorsal scale rows).
Opisthotropis haihaensis sp. nov. differs from O. maculosa sensu stricto (adult male holotype from northeastern Thailand, see Stuart & Chuaynkern 2007), with which the species was confused in the previous study (Nguyen et al. 2018), by having prefrontal not touching supraocular (versus prefrontal touching supraocular in O. maculosa); frontal touching preocular (versus frontal not touching preocular in O. maculosa); one postocular (versus two post-oculars in O. maculosa); fourth and fifth supralabials in contact with eye (versus fourth supralabial in contact with eye in O. maculosa); anterior pair of chin shields longer than posterior pair (versus vice versa in O. maculosa); lower number of ventrals (169 + 2 preventrals versus 182 + 2 preventrals in O. maculosa); higher number of subcaudals (79 versus 67 in O. maculosa); and chin shields yellow with brownish black mottling (versus yellow in O. maculosa).
Opisthotropis haihaensis sp. nov. differs from O. jacobi by having 24 maxillary teeth (versus 19–23 in O. jacobi); smooth dorsal scales on tail, without keels (versus few faint keels usually present in O. jacobi); body and tail dorsum dark with a light spot per scale (versus dorsum uniformly dark in O. jacobi).
Opisthotropis haihaensis sp. nov. differs from O. voquyi by having one postocular (versus two in O. voquyi); body and tail dorsum dark with each a light spot per scale (versus dorsal pattern dark, with dorsal scales posteriorly more or less edged with pale brown in O. voquyi).
Opisthotropis haihaensis sp. nov. differs from O. guangxiensis by having eight supralabials (versus 9–10 in O. guangxiensis); one postocular (versus two in O. guangxiensis); one posterior temporal in the new species (versus two in O. guangxiensis); 15 dorsal scale rows at neck in the new species (versus 17 in O. guangxiensis); 79 subcaudals (versus 51–60 in O. guangxiensis); body and tail dorsum dark with a light spot per scale (versus dorsal colour pattern dark with pale crossbars in O. guangxiensis).
Opisthotropis haihaensis sp. nov. differs from O. kikuzatoi by having eight supralabials (versus six in O. kikuzatoi); one preocular (versus two in O. kikuzatoi); 169 ventrals and 79 subcaudals (versus 180–198 ventrals and 58–73 subcaudals in O. kikuzatoi); body and tail dorsum dark with a light spot per scale (versus dorsal colour pattern dark with dorsolateral orange spots in O. kikuzatoi).
Opisthotropis haihaensis sp. nov. differs from H. annamensis by having one preocular (versus two in H. annamensis); 15 dorsal scale rows at neck (versus 17–19 in H. annamensis); body scales smooth (versus keeled throughout in H. annamensis); 79 subcaudals (versus 116–146 in H. annamensis); body and tail dorsum dark with a light spot per scale (versus dorsum dark with orange bars and spots in H. annamensis). 
CommentHabitat: The adult female holotype was found at night in a small rocky stream at 2130h. The surround- ing habitat was secondary evergreen forest consisting of small hardwood trees, bamboo, and shrubs (see Nguyen et al., 2018). The air temperature was 24–29°C and the relative humidity was 65–88%. 
EtymologyThis species is named after its type locality in Hai Ha District, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. 
References
  • Wang, J., Lyu, Z-T., Zeng, Z-C., Lin, C-Y., Yang, J-H., Nguyen, T. Q., Le, M. D., Ziegler, T. and Wang, Y-Y. 2020. Re-examination of the Chinese record of Opisthotropis maculosa (Squamata, Natricidae), resulting in the first national record of O. haihaensis and description of a new species. ZooKeys 913: 141-159.
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • ZIEGLER, THOMAS; CUONG THE PHAM, TAN VAN NGUYEN, TRUONG QUANG NGUYEN, JIAN WANG, YING-YONG WANG, BRYAN L. STUART & MINH DUC LE 2019. A new species of Opisthotropis from northern Vietnam previously misidentified as the Yellow-spotted Mountain Stream Keelback O. maculosa Stuart & Chuaynkern, 2007 (Squamata: Natricidae). Zootaxa 4613 (3): 579–586 - get paper here
 
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