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Oreocryptophis porphyraceus (CANTOR, 1839)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesOreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus (CANTOR 1839)
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus coxi (SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998)
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus laticinctus (SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998)
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus kawakamii (OSHIMA 1910)
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulchra (SCHMIDT 1925)
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti (SAUVAGE 1877) 
Common NamesE: Black-banded Trinket Snake, Red Bamboo Snake
G: Rote (Breitband-) Bambusnatter
Chinese: 紫灰锦蛇 
SynonymColuber porphyraceus CANTOR 1839
Coronella callicephalus GRAY 1853: 390 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Coluber porphyraceus — ANDERSON 1871: 172
Elaphe porphyracea — VAN DENBURGH 1909
Ablabes porphyraceus — BOULENGER 1890
Coluber porphyraceus — BOULENGER 1894: 34
Coluber porphyraceus — WALL 1908: 326
Coluber porphyraceus — RENDAHL 1937
Elaphe porphyracea — TAYLOR 1965: 724
Elaphe porphyracea — SCHULZ 1996: 196
Elaphe porphyracea — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 343
Oreophis porphyraceus — UTIGER et al. 2002
Oreophis porphyraceus — DAVID et al. 2004
Oreocryptophis prophyraceus — UTIGER et al. 2005 (nom. nov.)
Elaphe porphyracea — ZHAO 2006
Oreocryptophis prophyraceus — ZIEGLER et al. 2007
Oreophis porphyraceus — MATTISON 2007: 247
Oreophis porphyraceus — GRISMER et al. 2008
Elaphe porphyracae — LALTANPUIA et al. 2008 (in error)
Orthriophis porphyraceus — KÄSTLE et al. 2013: 515
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 511
Oreocryptophis porphyracea — PYRON & BURBRINK 2013
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus — WANG et al. 2022

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus (CANTOR 1839)
Psammophis nigrofasciatus CANTOR 1839 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Psammophis nigrofasciatus CANTOR 1839 (fide SCHULZ et al. 2010)
Simotes Vaillanti SAUVAGE 1876
Elaphe porphyracea pulchra SCHMIDT 1925
Elaphe porphyracea sikiangensis MELL 1931
Elaphe porphyracea nigrofasciata — POPE 1935
Elaphe porphyracea porphyracea — TAYLOR 1965: 724
Elaphe porphyracea porphyracea — COX et al. 1998: 52
Elaphe porphyracea nigrofasciata — COX et al. 1998: 52
Oreophis porphyraceus porphyraceus — GUMPRECHT 2003
Oreophis porphyraceus nigrofasciatus — KNIETSCH 2005
Oreophis porphyraceus porphyraceus — SCHULZ 2010
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus porphyraceus — LOVE 2010

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus coxi (SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998)
Elaphe porphyracea coxi SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998
Elaphe porphyracea coxi — CHAN-ARD et al. 1999: 164
Oreophis porphyraceus coxi — KNIETSCH 2005
Oreocryptophis prophyraceus — LAITA 2013
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus coxi — HORNIG 2015
Oreorphis porphyraceus coxi — COTA et al. 2022: 45 (in error)

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus kawakamii (OSHIMA 1910)
Liopeltis kawakamii OSHIMA 1910: 193
Oreophis porphyraceus kawakamii — KNIETSCH 2005
Oreocryptophis porphyracea kawakamii — MAO et al. 2009 [HR 40: 37]

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus laticinctus (SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998)
Elaphe porphyracea laticincta SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998
Elaphe porphyracea laticincta — CHAN-ARD et al. 1999: 165
Oreophis porphyraceus laticincta — GROSSMANN & TILLACK 2004
Oreophis porphyraceus laticinctus — BULIAN et al. 2005
Oreocryptophis porphyracea laticinctus — SCHULZ et al. 2010
Oreophis porphyraceus laticinctus — WERNING 2013

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus pulchra (SCHMIDT, 1925)
Elaphe porphyracea pulchra SCHMIDT 1925
Elaphe porphyracea pulchra — MELL 1931 [1929]
Elaphe porphyracea pulchra — SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998
Oreophis porphyraceus pulchra — KNIETSCH 2005

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti (SAUVAGE 1877)
Simotes vaillanti SAUVAGE 1877
Elaphe porphyracea hainana MELL 1931
Holarchus vaillanti — MELL 1931: 211 [1929] ?
Elaphe porphyracea vaillanti — SCHULZ 2000
Oreophis porphyraceus hainana — KNIETSCH 2005
Elaphe porphyracea vaillanti — SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998
Oreophis porphyraceus vaillanti — GUMPRECHT 2003
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus vaillanti — ORLOV et al. 2010 
DistributionIndia (Darjeling, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh [A. Captain, pers. comm.], Mizoram, Nagaland), Bhutan,
Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia ?, N Vietnam (Yen Bai etc.), Tibet, Nepal, S China (Sichuan, Yunnan, Hong Kong, Hainan, northward to Henan and Gansu; south to Wei He river),
Taiwan, West Malaysia (Pahang, Pulau Tioman), Indonesia (Sumatra)

coxi: NE Thailand; Type locality: Phuluang, Provinz Loei, NE Thailand, 850 m elevation.

porphyracea: India; Myanmar; Nepal; People's Republic of China. Type locality: India: Assam, Mishmi [Mishmee] Hills (Cantor, 1839)

kawakamii: Taiwan. Type locality: Taiwan.

laticincta: Malaysia (Cameron highlands, Pahang, West Malaysia). Type locality: Cameron highlands, ca. 1700 m elevation, near Brinchang, Pahang, Malaysia.

hainana: People's Republic of China (Hainan). [currently considered as a synonym of O. p. vaillanti].

nigrofasciata: Hong Kong; Laos; People's Republic of China; Vietnam. Type locality: see comment

pulchra: People's Republic of China (Yunnan, Gansu, Shaanxi, Guizhou); Type locality: Yunnanfu (= Kunming, Yunnan, China).

vaillanti: China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Zhejiang, Guizhou, Hunan, jiangxi, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hainan, Honkong), Vietnam (Chapa, Tamdao, Mason); Type locality: China;  
TypesHolotype: unknown (fide NGUYEN et al. 2009).
Holotype: BMNH [nigrofasciata]
Lectotype: MNHN-RA 5058 [vaillanti]
Holotype: AMNH 17705, paratype: FMNH [pulchra]
Holotype: MHNG 25 89.86, leg. T. CHAN-ARD 1993, MH NG 2589.90; paratypes: MHNG 2589.91, leg. T. CHAN-ARD 1994-1995; CTNRC 03771, leg. T. CHAN-ARD 1990 [coxi]
Holotype: MHNG 2589.88, Paratypes: MHNG 25 89.89, leg. W. GROSSMANN und C. SCHÄFER, Feb 1997; ZFMK 16660, leg. G. NIKOLAUS; CAS-SU 13232, leg. A. W. HERRE, 28. October 1940 [laticincta]
Holotype: unlocated, was BSRT 60 (Bureau of Scientific Researches Taipeh; collection no longer extant, type may now be in MST or NTM of Taiwan or NSMT = National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo) [kawakamii] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Taylor 1965: 724

Description: Taylor 1965: 724 
CommentSubspecies: The infraspecific systematics of this species is controversial. Zhao & Adler (1993: 238) considered Elaphe porphyracea kawakamii (Oshima, 1911) and Elaphe porphyracea pulchra Schmidt, 1925 synonyms of E. porphyracea nigrofasciata and E. porphyracea porphyracea respectively. According to this scheme, three subspecies are regarded as valid (E. p. porphyracea, p. hainana and p. nigrofasciata) and only the nominate form occurs on Sumatra.

Schulz (1996) recognized not less than seven subspecies (see below), two of which are still unnamed, and refered the populations from Sumatra to one of these undescribed taxon that is being studied (Schulz & Helfenberger, in prep.). We follow Schulz (1996), but as this subspecies has yet to be named and defined, we provisionally refrain from mentioning any subspecific name for the Sumatran populations. Reported from but not listed for the Andaman Islands by DAS 1999.

Variation: Oreocryptophis porphyracea is highly variable with red and yellow/black forms that may or may not have longitudinal stripes (see SCHULZ et al. 2010 for photos).

Type species: Coluber porphyraceus CANTOR 1839 is the type species of the genus Oreocryptophis UTIGER et al. 2005. It is also the type species of the genus Oreophis UTIGER et al. 2002. However, the generic name “Oreophis” is preoccupied by Oreophis boulengeri DUGÈS 1897, a synonym of Lampropeltis mexicana.

laticinctus: Size: females 90-100 cm, males 75-80 cm. Adults are red with thin black bands while juveniles have broad red (or brownish) and yellow bands which are separated by thin black bands.

pulchra is a synonym of Oreocryptophis porphyracea porphyracea according to MARX 1958.

vaillanti: juvenile males are cross-banded while adult males have longitudinal stripes (see photos in SCHULZ & HELFENBERGER 1998).

Behavior: diurnal.

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018).

Distribution: not in Singapore or not established there. The type locality of Psammophis was given erroneously as “Singapore”. See Figueroa et al. 2023: 269 for further discussion. 
EtymologyEtymology (genus): The new generic name alludes to the secretive way of live of Oreocryptophis porphyraceus in mountainous areas, and stems from the Greek words “oros”, meaning mountain, “kryptos”, meaning hidden or secret, and “ophis”, i.e., snake; the gender is masculine. This genus includes at least one species different from O. porphyraceus as averred by Utiger et al. (2002) and evidenced by unpublished mtDNA data. 
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