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Trimerodytes yapingi (GUO, ZHU & LIU, 2019)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesChinese: 景东华游蛇
E: Jingdong Water Snake 
SynonymSinonatrix yapingi GUO, ZHU & LIU 2019
Trimerodytes yapingi — REN et al. 2019 (by implication) 
DistributionChina (Yunnan)

Type locality: Jingdong (24.53°N, 100.94°E), Yunnan Province, China, at an elevation of 1500 m a.s.l.  
TypesHolotype: YBU 15296, adult female, collected by F. Zhu and Z.Q. Zhang in August 2015. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: 1) Large body size (maximum total length more than 795 mm); 2) dorsal scales in 19-19-17 rows, moderately keeled except outer four; 3) prefrontal single; 4) ventral scales 149, subcaudals 55, paired; 5) cloaca divided; 6) body bands 30; 7) belly milk-white, without speckles or bands; 8) reduction of dorsal scale rows from 19 to 17 anterior to 90th ventral scale; 9) reduction of caudodorsal scales rows from 8 to 6 anterior to 12th subcaudal and from 6 to 4 anterior to 38th subcaudal; 10) postorbital bones not in contact with frontals, with weak parietal ridge; end of supratemporal bones extending beyond braincase; maxillary teeth 25, last two not enlarged; dentary teeth 26. In addition, the genetic distances between the new species and each Sinonatrix representative range from 14.6% to 15.0%.

Comparisons: In addition to the large genetic distances between the new species and its congeners, Sinonatrix yapingi sp. nov. can be further differentiated from its congeners and related species by various phenotypic characters.
Sinonatrix yapingi sp. nov. differs from most species of Opisthotropis by having 19 rows of dorsal scales at mid-body (vs. 15, 17, or 23 rows). These species of Opisthotropis include: O. andersonii (Boulenger), O. atra Günther, O. cheni Zhao, O. daovantieni Orlov, Darevsky & Murphy, O. durandi Teynié, Lottier, David, Nguyen & Vogel, O. guangxiensis Zhao, Jiang & Huang, O. jacobi Angel & Bourret, O. kikuzatoi (Okada & Takara), O. lateralis Boulenger, O. latouchii (Boulenger), O. laui Yang, Sun & Chan, O. maculosa Stuart & Chuaynkern, O. maxwelli Boulenger, O. rugosa (Jeude), O. shenzhenensis Wang, Guo, Liu, Lyu, Wang, Luo, Sun & Zhang, O. spenceri Smith, O. tamdaoensis Ziegler, David & Vu, O. voquyi Ziegler, David, Ziegler, Pham, Nguyen & Le, and O. zhaoermii Ren, Wang, Jiang, Guo & Li (Zhao, 2006; Yang et al., 2013; Wang et al., 2017; Ren et al., 2017; Ziegler et al., 2018). Sinonatrix yapingi sp. nov. is distinct from O. kuatunensis Pope and O. typica (Mocquard) by bands on body (vs. no band on body) and moderately keeled body scales (vs. strongly keeled body scales) (Zhao, 2006; Yang et al., 2013). Sinonatrix yapingi sp. nov. differs from O. balteata (Cope) by fewer ventral scales (149 vs. 194–205) and subcaudals (55 vs. 63–80) and absence of speckles or markings on belly (vs. presence of speckles or markings on belly).
The new species differs from the three other members of Sinonatrix by the large genetic distance (more than 14.6%). Morphologically, it differs from S. aequifasciata, S. annularis, S. percarinata, and S. yunnanensis Rao & Yang (which is not recognized by some authors; e.g., Zhao, 2006) by single prefrontal (vs. two prefrontals) and absence of markings on belly (vs. presence of markings on belly).
Furthermore, Sinonatrix yapingi sp. nov. is distinct from S. aequifasciata by its weak or moderately keeled dorsal scales (vs. strongly keeled scales), supralabial formula (4-1-4 vs. 3-2-4), and fewer subcaudals (55 vs. 63–
Sinonatrix yapingi sp. nov. can be differentiated from S. annularis by its milk-white belly (vs. orange belly),
from S. percarinata by its moderately keeled dorsal scales (vs. strongly keeled scales), and from S. yunnanensis by its moderately keeled dorsal scales (vs. strongly keeled scales) and supralabial formula (4-1-4 vs. 3-2-4). 
EtymologyThe species is named after Dr. Yaping Zhang, a Chinese academician, in recognition of his great contribution to Chinese herpetological research. 
  • GUO, PENG; FEI ZHU & QIN LIU 2019. A new member of the genus Sinonatrix (Serpentes: Colubridae) from western China. Zootaxa 4623 (3): 535–544 - get paper here
  • REN, Jinlong; Kai WANG, Peng GUO, Yingyong WANG, Tao Thien NGUYEN, and Jiatang LI 2019. On the Generic Taxonomy of Opisthotropis balteata (Cope, 1895) (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae): Taxonomic Revision of Two Natricine Genera. Asian Herpetological Research 10 (2): 105–128; DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.180091 - get paper here
  • 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
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