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Pareas formosensis (VAN DENBURGH, 1909)

IUCN Red List - Pareas formosensis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaPareidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Formosa Slug Snake, Taiwan Slug Snake
Vietnamense: Rắn hổ mây đài loan 
SynonymAmblycephalus formosensis VAN DENBURGH 1909
Psammodynastes compressus OSHIMA 1910: 201
Eberhardtia tonkinensis ANGEL 1920 (part.)
Amblycephalus carinatus hainanus SMITH 1923 (part.)
Pareas hamptoni — SMITH 1943: 120 (part.)
Amblycephalus tonkinensis — DEUVE 1961: 30 (part)
Pareas formosensis — HU et al. 1980
Dipsas hamptoni — NGUYEN & HO 1996 (part)
Pareas hamptoni — ZIEGLER 2002: 245 (part)
Pareas hamptoni tonkinensis — ZIEGLER et al. 2007 (part)
Pareas formosensis — GUO & DENG 2008
Pareas formosensis — GUO et al. 2011
Pareas formosensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 535
Pareas hamptoni — VOGEL 2015 (part)
Pareas tonkinensis — ZAHER et al. 2019
Amblycephalus tokinensis — BHOSALE et al. 2021 (in error) 

Type locality: Kanshirei, Formosa  
TypesHolotype: CAS 18006
Holotype: NSMT H02567 (Tokyo) [compressus]
Holotype: MNHN-RA-1908.206 [tonkinensis] 
CommentSynonymy partly after ZHAO & ADLER 1993, Jiang (2004) and Guo & Deng 2009, and Ding et al. 2020. Amblycephalus komaii MAKI 1931 has been removed from the synonymy of P. formosensis and revalidated by YOU et al. 2015.

Similar species: Pareas formosensis and P. chinensis share very similar coloration and scale patterns (Jiang 2004). However, our molecular phylogenetic results indicate that the two species are not especially closely related within Pareas. Pareas formosensis is the sister species to P. hamptoni, and P. chinensis the sister of P. boulengeri. Close examination of maxillary teeth is consistent with this result. Both P. formosensis and P. hamptoni have 7–8 maxillary teeth, while P. chinensis and P. boulengeri have only 4–5 maxillary teeth (Rao and Yang, 1992).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after its distribution in Taiwan (= Formosa). 
  • Barbour, Thomas 1912. Some Chinese Vertebrates: Amphibia and Reptilia. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy 40 (4): 125-136 - get paper here
  • Deuve, J. 1961. Liste annotee des Serpents du Laos. Bull. Soc. Sci. Nat. Laos 1:5-32.
  • Ding, Li; Zening Chen, Chatmongkon Suwannapoom, Tan Van Nguyen, Nikolay A. Poyarkov, & Gernot Vogel 2020. A new species of the Pareas hamptoni complex (Squamata: Serpentes: Pareidae) from the Golden Triangle. TAPROBANICA 9 (2): 174–193
  • Guo, Keji & Deng, Xuejiang 2009. A new species of Pareas (Serpentes: Colubridae: Pareatinae) from the Gaoligong Mountains, southwestern China. Zootaxa 2008: 53-60 - get paper here
  • GUO, YUHONG;, YUNKE WU,, SHUNPING HE, HAITAO SHI & ERMI ZHAO 2011. Systematics and molecular phylogenetics of Asian snail-eating snakes (Pareatidae). Zootaxa 3001: 57–64 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Hoso M. 2017. Asymmetry of mandibular dentition is associated with dietary specialization in snail-eating snakes. PeerJ 5:e3011 - get paper here
  • Hu, Bu-Qing, Mei-Hua Huang, Zhan-ai Xie, Er-mi Zhao, Yao-Ming Jiang, Qing-Yun Huang, Yu Zong, and Jil-Fan Ma 1980. Atlas of Chinese Snakes [in Chinese]. Shanghai Press Sci. Technol., Shanghai. (3), 5, 3, 166 pages
  • Inger R F; Zhao E; Bradley Shaffer H; Guanfu Wu 1990. Report on a collection of amphibians and reptiles from Sichuan, China. Fieldiana: Zoology (No. 58) : i-iii, 1-24 - get paper here
  • JIANG, Yaoming 2004. Pareas chinensis (Babour, 1912) should be a junior synonym of Pareas formosensis (Van Denburgh, 1909). Sichuan Journal of Zoology, 23(3), 209–210 - get paper here
  • Lillywhite, Harvey B. 2014. How Snakes Work: Structure, Function and Behavior of the World's Snakes. Oxford University Press, New York, 256 pp
  • Maki, M. 1931. Monograph of the Snakes of Japan. Dai-ichi Shobo, Tokyo. (1), 7, 240 pages (expanded edition 1933)
  • Mell, Rudolf 1922. Beiträge zur Fauna Sinica. i. Die Vertebraten Südchinas; Feldlisten und Feldnoten der Säuger, Vögel, Reptilien, Batrachier. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 88 (10): 1-134
  • Nguyen Van Sang & Ho Thu Cuc 1996. Danh luc bo sat va ech nhai Viet Nam. Nha xuat ban khoa hoc va ky thuat. Hanoi, 264 pp.
  • Oshima, MASAMITSU. 1910. An annotated list of Formosan snakes, with descriptions of four new species and one new subspecies. Annot. Zool. Japon., Tokyo, 7 (3): 185-207.
  • Ota H. Lin J T. Hirata T. Chen S L. 1997. Systematic review of Colubrid snakes of the genus Pareas in the East Asian islands. Journal of Herpetology 31 (1): 79-87. - get paper here
  • Rao, D.Q. & D.T. YANG 1992. Phylogenetic systematics of Pareinae (Serpents) of southeastern Asia and adjacent islands with relationship between it and the geology changes. [In Chinese, English summary]. Acta zool. Sinica, 38 (2): 139-150.
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Stejneger, L. 1910. The batrachians and reptiles of Formosa. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 38: 91-114 - get paper here
  • Toriba, M. 1993. Present location of the type specimens described by Maki. The Snake 25: 71-72
  • Van DENBURGH, JOHN 1909. New and previously unrecorded species of reptiles and amphibians from the island of Formosa. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 3 (3): 49-56. - get paper here
  • Vogel, G. 2015. A New Montane Species of the Genus Pareas Wagler, 1830 (Squamata: Pareatidae) from Northern Myanmar. Taprobanica 7 (1): 1-7 - 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.
  • You, Chung-Wei; Nikolay A. Poyarkov Jr and Si-Min Lin 2015. Diversity of the snail-eating snakes Pareas (Serpentes, Pareatidae) from Taiwan. Zoologica Scripta DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12111 - get paper here
  • Zaher H, Murphy RW, Arredondo JC, Graboski R, Machado-Filho PR, Mahlow K, et al. 2019. Large-scale molecular phylogeny, morphology, divergence-time estimation, and the fossil record of advanced caenophidian snakes (Squamata: Serpentes). PLoS ONE 14(5): e0216148 - get paper here
  • Zhao, E.M. 2006. The snakes of China [in Chinese]. Hefei, China, Anhui Sience & Technology Publ. House, Vol. I, 372 pp., Vol. II (color plates), 280 pp.
  • Zhao,E. & Adler,K. 1993. Herpetology of China. SSAR, Oxford/Ohio, 1-522
  • Ziegler, T. 2002. Die Amphibien und Reptilien eines Tieflandfeuchtwald-Schutzgebietes in Vietnam. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 342 pp. - get paper here
  • ZIEGLER, THOMAS; RALF HENDRIX, VU NGOC THANH, MARTINA VOGT, BERNHARD FORSTER & DANG NGOC KIEN 2007. The diversity of a snake community in a karst forest ecosystem in the central Truong Son, Vietnam, with an identification key. Zootaxa 1493: 1-40 - get paper here
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