Hu & Zhao, 1972
Xenopeltis hainanensis jidamingae - Zhao 1995
- Common names: sunbeam snake.
This snake grows to an average of about .5 to 1 m. A fossorial species, the head is wedge-shaped and narrow with little neck delineation, which makes it easy to push through the soil. Its most defining characteristic is its iridescent, highly polished scales that give this snake its common name (sunbeam snake). The dorsal scales a layer of dark (indigo-brown) pigmentation just below the surface on each scale that enhances the iridescence. The ventral scales are greyish-white.
This species differs from its sister taxon Xenopeltis unicolor in several ways. It has a singular postocular scale rather than two, fewer ventral, supralabial, and infralabial scales, a shorter tail, and fewer maxillary teeth.
The holotype of the species is Chengdu Institute of Biology specimen CIB 64III6016, a male collected in 1964. The paratype, CIB 64III6650, is a female collected the same year.
Xenopeltis hainanensis is found in "isolated pockets" of southeastern China (from Guangxi east to Zhejiang and south to Hainan) and northern Vietnam. The type locality given is Dali village, Diaoluo Shan (Mount Diaoluo) on Hainan island, China.
This snake tends to live on forest slopes, at heights between 900 and 1100 metres above sea level.
The diet is varied, consisting primarily of frogs, reptiles, including other snakes, and small mammals. The young look very similar to the adults, except that they have a strong white "collar" of scales evident just below the head. This coloration fades within the first year.
This species of snake is ovoviviparous, with females laying up to 10 eggs at a time.
- Lau, M. & Zhou, Z. (2012). "Xenopeltis hainanensis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T192133A2044925. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T192133A2044925.en. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
- "Xenopeltis hainanensis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 19 September 2008.
- Hu, S; Djao [Zhao], E; Huang, Z (1975). Translated by A Koshikawa. "Three new species of reptiles from Hainan Island, Guangdong Province". Acta Zoologica Sinica, Peking. 21 (4): 379–384.
- "Encyclopædia Britannica entry on sunbeam snakes". 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
- Nikolai L. Orlov; Robert W. Murphy & Theodore J. Papenfuss (2000). "List of Snakes of Tam-Dao Mountain Ridge (Tonkin, Vietnam)" (PDF). Russian Journal of Herpetology. 7 (1): 69–80.
- "Reptile Database entry on Xenopeltis hainanensis". Retrieved 2013-11-24.