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Taxonomy of the family Colubridae
Bibliography of the genus Rhabdophis
Biodiversity of the family Colubridae


Asian Keelbacks

Asiatische Wassernattern, Waldwassertrugnattern

Asiatiske Kølsnoge

1843 Rhabdophis Fitzinger (type species: Tropidonotus subminiatus Schlegel 1837)
1843 Steirophis Fitzinger (type species: Tropidonotus chrysargos Schlegel 1837; syn. Golay & al. 1993)
1886 Bothrodytes Cope (type species: Tropidonotus subminiatus Schlegel 1837; syn. Golay & al. 1993)
1984 Nuchisulcophis Mahendra (type species: Tropidonotus nuchalis Boulenger 1891; syn. Williams & Wallach 1989)
Contents: 25 species, of which 16 (64.0%) are endemic.
Remarks: Previously included in Natrix, and some species in Macropophis (now a synonym of Tropidonophis).
Distribution: S. and E. Asia, Malay Archipelago.
Reported from: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China (Anhui, Beijing, Chongqing, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hong Kong, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan, Zhejiang), India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, West Bengal), Indonesia (Anambas Islands, Bali, Bawean Islands, Buton, Java, Kalimantan, Lingga Islands, Muna, Natuna Islands, Nias, Penida, Sangir Islands, Siberut, Simeulue, Sipura, Sulawesi, Sumatra), Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, Ryukyu Islands [Satsunan Islands]), Laos, Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak, West Malaysia [incl. Langkawi Archipelago, Seribuat Archipelago (incl. Tioman)]), Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Philippines (Babuyan Islands [Calayan, Camiguin Norte], Balabac, Batan Islands [Batan], Biliran, Bohol, Calamian Islands [Busuanga, Culion], Catanduanes, Dinagat, Dumaran, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Palawan, Polillo, Samar, Siargao, Sulu Islands [Basilan]), Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam (incl. Cat Ba Island).

Rhabdophis adleri

Hainan Keelback, (Adler's Keelback)



1997 Rhabdophis adleri Zhao

Remarks: Represents populations previously reported as callichroma or chrysargos (David & Ineich 1999). Tentatively considered an endemic to Hainan (see remarks under callichroma).
Distribution: China (Hainan).

Rhabdophis akraios

Mount Singalang Keelback



2013 Rhabdophis akraios Doria, Petri, Bellati, Tiso & Pistarino

Distribution: Indonesia (Sumatra).

Rhabdophis angeli

Tam Dao Keelback, (Angel's Keelback)

Nordvietnamesische Kielnatter

Nordvietnamesisk Kølsnog

1934 Natrix angeli Bourret
Rhabdophis angeli Bourret 1936

Distribution: Vietnam.

Rhabdophis auriculatus

White-lined Keelback, (Günther's Philippine Keelback, Günther's White-lined Water Snake)


Hvidstribet Kølsnog

1858 Tropidonotus auriculatus Günther
Natrix auriculata Griffin 1911
Rhabdophis auriculata Malnate 1960
1970 Rhabdophis auriculata myersi Leviton

Remarks: Records from Luzon (e.g., Leviton 1970; Golay, Smith, Broadley, Dixon, McCarthy, Rage, Schätti & Toriba 1993; Iskandar & Colijn 2001) appear to be erroneous. The island was not included in the distribution by Diesmos, Gonzalez, Delima & Tampos (2009). Leviton, Siler, Weinell & Brown (2018) included the species in the species list for Luzon, but in the species account there was no mention of the island, and no localities were plotted in the map.
Distribution: Philippines (Bohol, Dinagat, Leyte, Mindanao, Samar, Siargao, Sulu Islands [Basilan]).

Rhabdophis barbouri

Luzon Keelback, (Barbour's Keelback)



1854 Leptophis vertebralis Dumeril, Bibron & Dumeril [rejected] (Smith & Chiszar 1989)
1922 Natrix barbouri Taylor
Macropophis barbouri Malnate 1960
Natrix dendrophiops barbouri Leviton 1963
Rhabdophis barbouri Malnate & Underwood 1988

Remarks: Presence in Mindoro needs confirmation. There is a single record, which may be in error (Diesmos 2009). Leviton, Siler, Weinell & Brown (2018) did not include Mindoro in the distribution of the species.
Distribution: Philippines (Luzon).

Rhabdophis callichroma

Bavi Keelback, Black-barred Keelback, Coloured Keelback



1934 Natrix chrysarga callichroma Bourret
Rhabdophis chrysargus callichromus Bourret 1936
Rhabdophis callichroma Malnate 1960
1939 Natrix auchenia Smith (Smith 1943)

Remarks: Previously regarded as a synonym of chrysargos (e.g., Zhao & Adler 1993). According to David & Ineich (1999), records from China (Hainan) refer to adleri, however, Zhu, Wang, Takeuchi & Zhao (2014) list vouchers of both adleri and callichroma from the island. Chinese records of callichroma or chrysargos from outside Hainan are here tentatively assigned to callichroma. Only two specimens have been reported from Hong Kong (Karsen, Lau & Bogadek 1998 [as chrysargos]). David & Ineich (1999) regarded the specific epithet as an apposition, not an adjective, thus suggesting the correct spelling to be callichroma, not callichromus.
Distribution: China (Guangdong, Hainan, Hong Kong), Vietnam.

Rhabdophis callistus

Minahassa Keelback, (Boettger's Keelback)



1873 Tropidonotus callistus Günther
Rhabdophis callistus Iskandar & Colijn 2001

Remarks: Previously regarded as a synonym of chrysargoides (e.g., Rooij 1917). Treated as a valid species in most recent publications (e.g., Iskandar & Colijn 2001; Lang & Vogel 2005). According to Lang & Vogel (2005), the species is endemic to Sulawesi, but Iskandar & Colijn (2001) and Koch (2012) include Sangir Island in the distribution, but without reference to vouchers. Confirmation is therefore needed.
Distribution: Indonesia (Sulawesi).

Rhabdophis chiwen

Chiwen Keelback



2020 Rhabdophis chiwen Piao, Chen, Wu, Shi, Takeuchi, Jono, Fukuda, Mori, Tang, Chen & Ding

Distribution: China (Sichuan).

Rhabdophis chrysargoides

Javanese Keelback, Sahul Keelback, (Günther's Keelback)



1858 Tropidonotus chrysargoides Günther
Amphiesma chrysargoides Jan 1863
Natrix chrysargoides Barbour 1912
Rhabdophis chrysargoides Malnate 1960

Remarks: Previously included callistus. According to Iskandar & Colijn (2001), chrysargoides is restricted to Java, but some authors (e.g., Lang & Vogel 2005; Koch 2012) have also included Buton, Muna, Sangir Islands and Sulawesi, but the status of these populations is uncertain. Moreover, Zhu, Wang, Takeuchi & Zhao (2014) listed a voucher from Palawan, Philippines, however, this record is regarded herein as questionable, since no other references seem to confirm the presence of chrysargoides in the Philippines. See further remarks under chrysargos.
Distribution: Indonesia (Buton, Java, Muna, Sangir Islands, Sulawesi).

Rhabdophis chrysargos

Speckled-bellied Keelback, Speckled Keelback, Spotted Keelback, (Schlegel's Keelback)

Gefleckte Kielnatter, Gefleckte Wassernatter

Spættet Kølsnog

1827 Tropidonotus chrysargus Boie (nomen nudum; David & Vogel 1996; Iskandar & Colijn 2001)
Amphiesma chrysargum Duméril & Bibron 1854
Natrix chrysarga Stejneger 1907
Rhabdophis chrysargus Wall 1923
1837 Tropidonotus chrysargos Schlegel
Amphiesma chrysargos Jan 1861
Rhabdophis chrysargos David & Vogel 1996
1858 Tropidonotus junceus Cantor (Smith 1943)
Tropidonotus chrysargus juncea Boettger 1887
1854 Leptophis albomaculatus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril (Golay & al. 1993)

Remarks: Records from China refer to adleri or callichroma (see remarks under those species). Presence in Sulawesi and nearby islands has been questioned, since only a few voucher specimens are available from the island, and since chrysargos may have been confused with chrysargoides (Lang & Vogel 2005; Koch 2012). All records of chrysargos from Sulawesi and nearby islands are here tentatively considered to represent chrysargoides, pending further studies. Specific epithet is chrysargos, not chrysargus, and the author is Schlegel 1837, not Boie 1827, as often seen (see above or David & Vogel 1996).
Distribution: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia (Anambas Islands, Bali, Bawean Islands, Java, Kalimantan, Nias, Penida, Siberut, Simeulue, Sipura, Sumatra), Laos, Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak, West Malaysia [incl. Langkawi Archipelago, Seribuat Archipelago (incl. Tioman)]), Myanmar, Philippines (Balabac, Calamian Islands [Busuanga, Culion], Dumaran, Palawan), Thailand, Vietnam.

Rhabdophis conspicillatus

Red-bellied Keelback


Rødbuget Kølsnog

1872 Tropidonotus conspicillatus Günther
Elaphis conspicillatus Müller 1885
Natrix conspicillata Barbour 1912
Amphiesma conspicillata Malnate 1960
Rhabdophis conspicillatus Malnate & Underwood 1988

Distribution: Indonesia (Kalimantan, Lingga Islands, Natuna Islands, Sumatra), Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak, West Malaysia).

Rhabdophis formosanus

Taiwanese Tiger Keelback

Taiwanische Tigernatter

Taiwansk Tigersnog

1931 Natrix tigrina formosana Maki
Rhabdophis tigrinus formosanus Nakamura & Ueno 1963
Rhabdophis formosanus Takeuchi, Ota, Oh & Hikida 2012

Distribution: Taiwan.

Rhabdophis guangdongensis

Guangdong Keelback



2014 Rhabdophis guangdongensis Zhu, Wang, Takeuchi & Zhao

Distribution: China (Guangdong).

Rhabdophis himalayanus

Common Himalayan Keelback, (Himalayan Keelback)

Gewöhnliche Himalaya-Kielnatter

Almindelig Himalaya-kølsnog

1864 Tropidonotus himalayanus Günther
Macropisthodon himalayanus Annandale 1904
Rhabdophis himalayanus Wall 1923
Natrix himalayanus Smith 1938
1908 Tropidonotus himalayanus ornatus Wall (Smith 1943)
1925 Natrix speciosus Wall (Smith 1943)

Remarks: Reports from Laos (e.g., Deuve 1970; Uetz & Hallerman 2007; Teynié & David 2010) are based on the former subspecies laobaoensis, now considered a synonym of subminiata (Bain & Hurley 2011).
Distribution: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China (Tibet, Yunnan), India (Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, West Bengal), Myanmar, Nepal.

Rhabdophis lateralis

Chinese Tiger Keelback

Chinesische Tigernatter

Kinesisk Tigersnog

1859 Tropidonotus lateralis Berthold
Natrix tigrina lateralis Stejneger 1907
Rhabdophis tigrina lateralis Zhao & Jiang 1986
Rhabdophis lateralis Takeuchi, Ota, Oh & Hikida 2012
1861 Tropidonotus orientalis Günther (Zhao & Adler 1993)
1970 Rhabdophis tigrina multiventralis Stewart (David & Ineich 1999)

Remarks: Previously regarded as a subspecies of tigrinus (e.g., Paik & Yang 1986; Zhao & Adler 1993). Revalidated by Takeuchi, Ota, Oh & Hikida (2012).
Distribution: China (Anhui, Beijing, Chongqing, Fujian, Gansu, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan, Zhejiang), North Korea, Russia, South Korea.

Rhabdophis leonardi

Burmese Mountain Keelback, (Leonard's Keelback)

Burmesische Gebirgs-Kielnatter

Burmesisk Bjerg-kølsnog

1923 Natrix leonardi Wall
Natrix swinhonis leonardi Mell 1931
Rhabdophis leonardi Jiang & Zhao 1983
1931 Natrix swinhonis reducta Mell "1929" (Zhao & Adler 1993)

Remarks: Previously regarded as a synonym of nuchalis (e.g., Smith 1943).
Distribution: China (Guangxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan), Myanmar.

Rhabdophis lineatus

Philippine Striped Keelback, Zigzag-lined Keelback

Philippinische Gestreifte Kielnatter

Filippinsk Stribet Kølsnog

1861 Tropidonotus lineatus Peters
Natrix lineata Griffin 1911
Rhabdophis lineata Malnate 1960

Distribution: Philippines (Biliran, Bohol, Dinagat, Leyte, Mindanao, Samar, Sulu Islands [Basilan]).

Rhabdophis murudensis

Fire-lipped Keelback, Mount Murud Keelback, Gunung Murud Keelback


Rødlæbet Kølsnog

1925 Natrix murudensis Smith
Rhabdophis murudensis Malnate 1960

Distribution: Malaysia, (Sabah, Sarawak).

Rhabdophis nigrocinctus

Black-banded Keelback, Banded Keelback, (Green Keelback)

Schwarzgebänderte Kielnatter, Schwarzgebänderte Wassernatter

Sortbåndet Kølsnog

1856 Tropidonotus nigrocinctus Blyth
Rhabdophis nigrocinctus Wall 1923
Natrix nigrocinctus Smith 1922
1925 Pseudoxenodon fruhstorfei Werner (Smith 1943)
1916 Tropidonotus eisenhoferi Gyldenstolpe (Smith 1943)

Distribution: Cambodia, China (Guangdong, Yunnan), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam.

Rhabdophis nuchalis

Collared Keelback, Groove-necked Keelback, Hubei Keelback, (Green Keelback)



1891 Tropidonotus nuchalis Boulenger
Natrix nuchalis Parker 1925
Natrix swinhonis nuchalis Mell 1931
Nuchisulcophis nuchalis Mahendra 1984
Rhabdophis nuchalis Malnate 1960
1923 Natrix leonardi Wall (Smith 1943)
Natrix swinhonis leonardi Bourret 1936
1925 Natrix nivalis Schmidt (Smith 1943)
1927 Natrix nuchalis collaris Vogt (Smith 1943)
Natrix swinhonis collaris Deuve 1970

Remarks: Previously included pentasupralabialis. A record from Himachal Pradesh (Agrawal 1979) is regarded as doubtful, being far from the nearest other records of the species. Whitaker & Captain (2004) did not list nuchalis as an Indian species, but it was subsequently reported from Nagaland (Ahmed & Das 2006; Dasgupta & Raha 2006). Presence in Hong Kong needs confirmation, since there is only a single record (Karsen, Lau & Bogadek 1998). Lau, Guo, Zhou & Rao (2012) did not include Hong Kong in the distribution.
Distribution: China (Chongqing, Gansu, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan), India (Nagaland), Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam.

Rhabdophis pentasupralabialis

Mount Gongga Keelback



1983 Rhabdophis nuchalis pentasupralabialis Jiang & Zhao
Rhabdophis pentasupralabialis Zhao 1995

Distribution: China (Sichuan, Yunnan).

Rhabdophis spilogaster

Northern Philippine Keelback, (Boie's Keelback)

Nordphilippinische Kielnatter

Nordfilippinsk Kølsnog

1827 Tropidonotus spilogaster Boie
Natrix spilogaster Griffin 1911
Rhabdophis spilogaster Malnate 1960
1834 Tropidonotus crebripunctatus Wiegmann (Golay & al. 1993)

Remarks: A record from Lubang was based on a misidentification (Brown, Rico & Afuang 2009).
Distribution: Philippines (Babuyan Islands [Calayan, Camiguin Norte], Batan Islands [Batan], Catanduanes, Luzon, Polillo).

Rhabdophis subminiatus

Red-necked Keelback

Rothals-Kielnatter, Rothals-Wassernatter

Rødhalset Kølsnog

1837 Tropidonotus subminiatus Schlegel
Rhabdophis subminiatus Fitzinger 1843
Amphiesma subminiatum Duméril, Bibron & Duméril 1854
Natrix subminiata Barbour 1912
1873 Tropidonotus manadensis Günther (Golay & al. 1993)
1925 Natrix helleri Schmidt (Smith 1943)
Natrix subminiata helleri Fan 1931
Rhabdophis subminiata helleri Pope 1935
1931 Natrix subminiata hongkongensis Mell [1929] (Zhao & Adler 1993)
1931 Natrix subminiata siamensis Mell (Taylor 1965)
Rhabdophis subminiatus siamensis Deuve 1970
1934 Natrix laobaoensis Bourret (Smith 1943)
Rhabdophis himalayanus laobaoensis Bourret 1936

Remarks: Present in the past, but not confirmed recently from Singapore (Baker & Lim 2008). Presence in Sulawesi needs confirmation, since only a single voucher specimen is available from the island (De Lang & Vogel 2005). Although reported from Borneo by several authors (e.g., Haas 1950; Haile 1959; Stuebing 1991; Iskandar & Colijn 2001; Iskandar 2004; Das 2006), it is not included for the island herein, following Stuebing, Inger & Lardner (2014), who did not regard subminiatus as a Bornean species. A record from Shanxi (Guo, Wang & Lian 2002) is regarded as doubtful.
Extinct in: Singapore.
Distribution: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hong Kong, Sichuan, Yunnan), India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, West Bengal), Indonesia (Java, Kambangan, Sumatra), Laos, Malaysia (West Malaysia), Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam (incl. Cat Ba Island).

Rhabdophis swinhonis

Taiwanese Black-necked Keelback, (Swinhoe's Keelback)

Taiwanische Schwarzhals-Kielnatter

Taiwansk Sorthalset Snog

1868 Tropidonotus Swinhonis Günther
Natrix swinhonis Stejneger 1907
Rhabdophis swinhonis Malnate 1960
1888 Tropidonotus swinhoei Boettger (Golay & al. 1993)

Distribution: Taiwan.

Rhabdophis tigrinus

Japanese Tiger Keelback, Japanese Keelback, Asian Tiger Snake, Chinese Tiger Snake, Yamakagashi, (Red-sided Water Snake)

Japanische Tigernatter, Tiger-Wassernatter

Japansk Tigersnog

1826 Tropidonotus tigrinus Boie
Amphiesma tigrinum Duméril, Bibron & Duméril 1854
Natrix tigrina Stejneger 1907
Rhabdophis tigrina Malnate 1960

Remarks: Previously included formosanus and lateralis. Records from outside Japan refer to these species.
Distribution: Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, Ryukyu Islands [Satsunan Islands]).