Sunday, February 23, 2020

[Herpetology • 2020] Opisthotropis hungtai • 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

Opisthotropis hungtai 
Wang, Lyu, Zeng, Lin, Yang, Nguyen, Le, Ziegler & Wang, 2020

Hung-Ta Chang’s Mountain Keelback | 张氏后棱蛇 || DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.913.48622 

The taxonomic status of the previous record of Opisthotropis maculosa Stuart & Chuaynkern, 2007 from Guangdong and Guangxi, southern China, is revised based on the comparison of morphological and molecular data collected from the Chinese specimens and the holotype of O. maculosa from Thailand and O. haihaensis Ziegler, Pham, Nguyen, Nguyen, Wang, Wang, Stuart & Le, 2019 from Vietnam. Results reveal that the population from Shiwandashan Nature Reserve in southern Guangxi, China belongs to O. haihaensis, and represents the first national record for China; the populations from western Guangdong and southeastern Guangxi are described as a new species, Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov. We suggest that O. maculosa should be removed from the Chinese herpetofauna checklist. The new national record of O. haihaensis and the description of the new species bring the total number of Opisthotropis to 13 in China.

Keywords: New national record, Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov., southern China, taxonomy

Figure 4. Morphological features of the adult male holotype SYS r00946 of Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov.
A Habitus view in life B habitus view in preservative C close-up of mid-dorsal body D–E close-up of head scales. Photos by Jian Zhao and Jian Wang.

Figure 5. Comparisons of head scalation of Opisthotropis haihaensis and Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov. Line illustration by Zhi-Tong Lyu.

Figure 6. Morphological features of the adult female paratypes of Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov. from Dawuling Forestry Station, Guangdong, China.
A, B Habitus view and close-up of mid-dorsal body of SYS r001515 C–E habitus view and close-up of head scales of SYS r002017. Photos by Jian Wang.

Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov.

Chresonymy: Opisthotropis maculosa Stuart & Chuaynkern, 2007: Yang et al. (2011) (part); Wang et al. (2017a), Ren et al. (2019).

Etymology: The species name “hungtai” refers to Professor Hung-Ta Chang (=Hong-Da Zhang, 张宏达), an outstanding botanist, who established the Tropical and Subtropical Forest Ecosystem Experimental Center in Heishiding Nature Reserve, promoting the development of ecological research in southern China. We suggest the English common name Hung-Ta Chang’s Mountain Keelback and the Chinese name Zhang Shi Hou Leng She (张氏后棱蛇).

Diagnosis: Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov. is characterized by the following combination of characters: (1) TL 464.3–501.2 mm in adult males, 393.2–511 mm in females, (2) tail moderate, TaL/TL 0.20–0.26 in males, 0.19–0.22 in females, (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 seven, the fourth and fifth in contact with eye; (6) maxillary teeth 16–18, (7) anterior pair of chin shields longer than or equal to posterior pair; (8) ventrals 170–189 (+ 2 preventrals) in males, 168–175 (+ 2 preventrals) in females, (9) subcaudals 76–98 in males, 69–84 in females, (9) nasal cleft pointing to the second supralabial, (10) body scale 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 spot per scale.

Distribution and habits: Opisthotropis hungtai sp. nov. is currently known from Heishiding Nature Reserve (ca 300 m a.s.l.) and Dawuling Forestry Station (ca 900 m a.s.l.) in western Guangdong, and Mt. Wuhuang (ca 500 m a.s.l.) in southeastern Guangxi.

The specimen from Mt. Wuhuang was collected in a rocky stream. Besides, specimens from Heishiding Nature Reserve were found in pelitic gutterways along the dirt path, and specimens from Dawuling Forestry Station were collected in a pelitic stream. The collection sites were all surrounded by well-preserved, dense deciduous forest.

 Jian Wang, Zhi-Tong Lyu, Zhao-Chi Zeng, Chao-Yu Lin, Jian-Huan Yang, Truong Quang Nguyen, Minh D. Le, Thomas Ziegler and Ying-Yong Wang. 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. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.913.48622