Trimerodytes yapingi (GUO, ZHU & LIU, 2019)
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|Higher Taxa||Colubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||Chinese: 景东华游蛇|
E: Jingdong Water Snake
|Synonym||Sinonatrix yapingi GUO, ZHU & LIU 2019|
Trimerodytes yapingi — REN et al. 2019 (by implication)
Trimerodytes yapingi — DINH et al. 2022
|Distribution||China (Yunnan), Laos|
Type locality: Jingdong (24.53°N, 100.94°E), Yunnan Province, China, at an elevation of 1500 m a.s.l.
|Types||Holotype: YBU 15296, adult female, collected by F. Zhu and Z.Q. Zhang in August 2015.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: 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. 63–78).
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).
Redescription: “Specimens examined (n=2). One adult female, VNUF R.2020.14 (field number: HP.14) and one adult male, NUOL R.2020.15 (field number: HP.15), collected on March 22th 2020 in a stream (20°18’142’’ N/ 103°20’322’’ E, at an elevation of 1,086 m a.l.s.) of Phon Song Village within Nam Et – Phou Louey National Protected Area by Vilay Phimpasone and Oanh Van Lo (Fig. 3). Expanded diagnosis: As the original description of Trimerodytes yapingi was based on one adult female only (Guo et al. 2019) we herein expand the diagnosis of this species as follows: 1) Body size large (TL from 635 to 795 mm); 2) dorsal scales in 19–19–17 rows, moderately keeled except outer two to four scale rows; 3) prefrontal single; 4) ventral scales 149–156, subcaudals 55–65, paired; 5) cloaca divided; 6) body with 30 black bands; 7) belly milk-white, without speckles or bands; 8) reduction of dorsal scale rows from 19 to 17 anterior to 87th ventral scale in the male, and to the 90–97th ventral scale in females; 9) reduction of caudodorsal scale rows from 8 to 6 anterior to 20th subcaudal in the male, and anterior to 12–24th subcaudals in females; as well as from 6 to 4 anterior to 34th subcaudal in the male, and 31–38th subcaudals in females. Description of the male specimen: Body stout, cylindrical. SVL 485 mm, TaL 150 mm, TL 635 mm, TaL/TL 0.23; HL 20.38 mm, HW 10.43 mm; elongated and narrow head, longer than twice its width, snout blunt; internasals much longer than wide, posteriorly wider, shorter than prefrontal; prefrontal single, nearly two times as wide as long, extending downward on both sides and in contact with loreals, preoculars, and nasals; frontal shield-like, 1.5 × as long as wide; loreal 1/1, separated from the eye; preocular 1/1, postoculars 3/3; anterior temporals 2/2, posterior temporals 3/3; supralabials 8/8, fourth touching the eye, sixth largest; infralabials 9/10, first to fifth (both sides) in contact with chin shields; dorsal scales in 19–19–17 rows, 11 rows moderately keeled except two or four outermost scale rows at each side which are smooth; ventrals 151; cloacal plate divided; subcaudals 65, paired. Coloration in life: Dorsal surface of body grayish brown, with many black irregular bands on vertebral line. There are many V-shaped speckles on both sides of the body flank, nearby ventral scales, connecting and constituting W-shaped speckles. Dorsal surface of head dark gray without marking, ventral head white, infralabials dark anteriorly and white posteriorly. Ventral side yellowish white, ventral surface of tail dark white. Coloration in preservative: Dorsal surface dark-brown. Ventral side white cream, ventral surface of tail dark white. Ecological notes: The specimens were found at 13h10 in a stream within the evergreen forest at an elevation of 1,086 m a.s.l. The relative temperature was about 27.8°C and the humidity 44%. The surrounding habitat was mixed evergreen forest of hardwoods and shrub and vines (Fig. 4). Distribution. This is the first country record of Trimerodytes yapingi for Laos.
Elsewhere, this species is known from Yunnan, China (Fig. 3). The specimens from Laos slightly differ from the the original description by having more ventrals (156 versus 149+1), more subcaudals (62–65 versus 55), body length shorter than reported for the holotype (SVL 485 versus 635 mm; TaL 150–155 mm versus 160 mm). The first discovered male of the species has more subcaudals (65) compared with the females (55 and 62). Our record of Trimerodytes yapingi from Laos is approximately 500 km distant from the type locality in Yunnan, China. It is probable that the species will also be reported from northern Vietnam in the future. The new record in Laos was reported from lower elevation (1,086 m a.s.l.) compared with that in the original description (1,500 m a.s.l.). Whereas the type specimen was collected in a rice field near the evergreen forest, the specimens from Laos were found within disturbed evergreen forest.” (Dinh et al. 2022)
|Etymology||The species is named after Dr. Yaping Zhang, a Chinese academician, in recognition of his great contribution to Chinese herpetological research.|
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