(F. Boie, 1826)
|Range of R. tigrinus|
Rhabdophis tigrinus, the tiger keelback, kkotbaem, or yamakagashi, is a venomous colubrid snake found in East and Southeast Asia. Many sources, though not ITIS, recognize one subspecies, Rhabdophis tigrinus formosanus of Taiwan.
The dorsal color pattern is olive-drab green with black and bright orange crossbars or spots from the neck down the first third of the body. The belly is whitish. The average length is usually 60–100 cm (24-39 inches).
Found in eastern Russia (Primorskiy and Khabarovsk), North and South Korea, China (widespread, except in the western third and the extreme south; Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Guizhou, Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia), on the island of Taiwan, in Vietnam and in Japan (Yakushima, Tanegashima, Kyūshū, Shikoku, Honshu, Osaka and in the Ryukyu Islands). The type locality given is "Japan".
Feeding and defense
When these snakes are challenged at cooler temperatures they tend to demonstrate passive anti-predator responses such as flattening their neck and body and lying still while at higher temperatures they more frequently flee instead. This species has two nuchal glands in its neck that sequester steroid irritants obtained from eating poisonous toads as a predation defence. This snake thus appears to rely more heavily on the deterrence provided by these glands at low ambient temperatures. Although venomous, few deaths have been recorded due to its tendency to display one of these other behaviors as opposed to striking. This hesitancy to strike at a predator in turn may be because its fangs are located in the back of the mouth, making a successful strike on a large object difficult.
- Rhabdophis tigrinus at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 21 September 2008.
- "Rhabdophis tigrinus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
- Hans Breuer & William Christopher Murphy (2009–2010). "Rhabdophis tigrinus formosanus". Snakes of Taiwan. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Rhabdophis tigrinus lateralis at Animal Pictures Archive. Accessed 21 September 2008.
- Tanaka K. (2002). "Foraging behavior of Rhabdophis tigrinus (Serpentes: Colubridae) in a gutter with a dense aggregation of tadpoles". Current Herpetology. 21 (1): 1–8. doi:10.5358/hsj.21.1.
- Mori, A.; Burghardt, G. M. (2001). "Temperature effects on anti-predator behaviour in Rhabdophis tigrinus, a snake with toxic nuchal glands". Ethology. 107 (9): 795–811. doi:10.1046/j.1439-0310.2001.00706.x.
- Hutchinson, D. A.; Mori, A.; Savitzky, A. H.; Burghardt, G. M.; Wu, X.; Meinwald, J.; Schroeder, F. C. (2007). "Dietary sequestration of defensive steroids in nuchal glands of the Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (7): 2265–2270. doi:10.1073/pnas.0610785104. PMC 1892995. PMID 17284596.
- Sawai, Y.; Honma, M.; Kawamura, Y.; Saki, A.; Hatsuse, M. (2002). "Rhabdophis tigrinus in Japan: Pathogenesis of envenomation and production of antivenom". Toxin Reviews. 21 (1–2): 181–201. doi:10.1081/TXR-120004746.
- Tanaka K. 2002. Foraging behavior of Rhabdophis tigrinus (Serpentes: Colubridae) in a gutter with a dense aggregation of tadpoles. Curr. Herpetol. 21(1): 1-8.
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