Tropidonotus quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837

Published, First, 2012, 3473, Zootaxa 3473, pp. 1-60 : 15-16

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Tropidonotus quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837


Tropidonotus quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837

Tropidonotus quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837: 307 , pl. 12, figs. 4–5. —Type locality, restricted by virtue of lectotype designation and geographic infere3nce on the lectotype locality: northern coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh State, eastern India. —Onomatophore. Lectotype, by present designation: BMNH 1904.7.27.32 (specimen depicted by Russell, 1796: pl. 33; holotype of Hydrus piscator Schneider, 1799 ); see below.

Status. A taxon here regarded as an objective synonym of Xenochrophis piscator .

Comments. Schlegel’s extensive description is based on both examined specimens and Russell’s plates (1796; 1802). The original syntypes included: unidentified specimens from the “ Musée de Paris ” and the “Musée des Pays-Bas”, and specimens depicted by Russell (1796: pls. 20, 33) and Russell (1802 [in 1801–1809]: pl. 14). As a consequence, the original type locality of T. quincunciatus was: “ de Malabar, de Pondichery, de Bengale (… dans les environs de Bombay, de Tranquebar et de Calcutta), de la Cochinchine et des Philippines […], de Java, des îles Mariannes et de la Chine; […] près de Macoa. […] ”.

In part, Tropidonotus quincunciatus can be considered a new species described from several preserved specimens from the localities cited above. In another part, Schlegel’s text and footnotes confirm that he regarded his new taxon also as a “more convenient” name, but not a replacement name sensu the Code, for Hydrus piscator Schneider, 1799 , H. palustris Schneider, 1799 , Coluber anastomosatus Daudin, 1803 , C. braminus Daudin, 1803 , C. melanzostus Gravenhorst, 1807 , C. rectangulus Gray, 1834 , and C. lippus Reuss, 1834 . Because Schlegel used additional specimens for his description of T. quincunciatus , this nomen cannot be regarded as a replacement name, but formally as a species description. Given this, we consider that Schlegel intended to “clarify” the taxonomy of this complex in defining a new taxon encompassing all nominal taxa described previously, at the exception of C. umbratus Daudin, 1803 , which was recognized as valid by Schlegel (1837: 309).

Tropidonotus quincunciatus was recognized as the valid name for the Xenochrophis piscator -complex from Schlegel (1837) to Boulenger (1893). Schlegel (p. 309) considered Tropidonotus spilogaster Boie, 1827 to originate from the Marianna Islands and to be a synonym of Tropidonotus quincunciatus . Both statements are erroneous. This valid species, now known as Rhabdophis spilogaster , occurs in the Philippine Islands.Schlegel’s definition of his T. quincunciatus includes at least two currently valid species, namely Xenochrophis piscator and X. melanzostus . The animal depicted by Schlegel (1837: pl. 12, figs. 4–5),is even clearly a specimen of this latter taxon from Java. The sole unambiguously identifiable syntypes are the secondary syntypes based on Russell’s plates and the specimen depicted in Schlegel’s plate 12.

This leaves us with the possibility to consider Tropidonotus quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837 either to be a synonym of Hydrus piscator or of Coluber melanzostus . In order to fix the nomenclatural status of T. quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837 as an objective synonym of Hydrus piscator , and in agreement with Dubois & Ohler (1996), we select as lectotype of T. quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837 the specimen depicted by Russell (1796: pl. 33; “Neeli Koea”), which is also the holotype of Hydrus piscator Schneider, 1799 (see above). This specimen is described above.














Tropidonotus quincunciatus Schlegel, 1837

Published, First 2012

Tropidonotus quincunciatus

Schlegel, H. 1837: 307