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Systematic Review of Colubrid Snakes of the Genus Pareas in the East Asian Islands

Hidetoshi Ota, Jun-Tsong Lin, Toru Hirata and Szu-Lung Chen
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 31, No. 1 (Mar., 1997), pp. 79-87
DOI: 10.2307/1565332
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1565332
Page Count: 9
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Systematic Review of Colubrid Snakes of the Genus Pareas in the East Asian Islands
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Abstract

Three species of Pareas are currently recognized from East Asian Islands--P. formosensis and P. komaii from Taiwan, and P. iwasakii from the Yaeyama Group, southern Ryukyus. In order to reassess definitions and applicabilities of their diagnostic characters and to revise the taxonomy of these poorly known snakes, we compared external and osteological characters as well as distribution patterns among these species. The relative position of the second supralabial and subocular, which had been used previously to distinguish P. komaii from P. formosensis, is actually not a valid basis for subdividing Taiwanese Pareas. Taiwanese specimens were classified into two groups on the basis of the presence or absence of keeled scales in the middorsal region (the other character presumed to distinguish P. komaii from P. formosensis). However, arrangement and degree of development of keels varies considerably within the sample having keeled scales, and there are no other discernible differences between this form and the form that lacks keels. Moreover, distribution of the two forms does not support the previous assumption regarding habitat segregation between P. komaii and P. formosensis. We thus synonymize P. komaii (Maki, 1931) with P. formosensis (Van Denburgh, 1909). On the other hand, the Yaeyama sample is distinct from P. formosensis in having a greater number of ventrals (188-199 vs. 170-186), more elongated skull, etc. This confirms the status of P. iwasakii as a full species.

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