Gerarda prevostiana

Gerarda prevostiana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Homalopsinae
Genus: Gerarda
Gray, 1849
Species: G. prevostiana
Binomial name
Gerarda prevostiana
(Eydoux & Gervais, 1822)[1]
  • Coluber prevostianus
    Eydoux & Gervais, 1822
  • Gerarda bicolor Gray, 1849
  • Campylodon prevostianum
    A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1854
  • Heleophis flavescens
    F. Müller, 1884
  • Gerardia [sic] prevostiana
    Boulenger, 1890[2]
  • Gerarda prevostiana
    — Manthey & Grossmann, 1997[3]

Gerarda prevostiana, commonly known as Gerard's water snake or the cat-eyed water snake, is a species of water snake endemic to Asia. It is the only species in the genus Gerarda.


The generic name, Gerarda, is in honor of someone named "Gerard". Unfortunately, Gray, who named the genus in 1849, did not specify whom he was honoring. Two possibilities are Adam Gerard or Rev. Gerard R. Smith, both of whom sent specimens of reptiles to Gray at the British Museum.[4]

The specific name, prevostiana, is in honor of French naturalist and illustrator Florent Prévost.[4]


G. prevostiana feed almost exclusively on crabs, which they tear into bite-sized pieces by pulling them through their coils, in contrast to most other snakes which swallow their prey whole.[5]


Frontal a little longer than broad, shorter than its distance from the end of the snout, or than the parietals; loreal slightly longer than deep, a little smaller than the nasal; one preocular and two postoculars; temporals 1+2; upper labials 8, fourth entering the eye; 4 lower labials in contact with the anterior chin shields, which are much larger than the posterior. Dorsal scales in 17 rows at midbody. Ventrals 146–158; anal divided; subcaudals 31–34.[6]

Uniform dark olive above; three outer rows of scales whitish; upper lip white, rostral dark olive; ventrals and subcaudals whitish, with dark edges.[6]

Total length 41 cm (16 inches); tail 5 cm (2 inches).[6]


G. prevostiana is found in India, Myanmar (= Burma), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippine Islands (Mindanao), Bangladesh, west Malaysia, and Singapore.


  1. Eydoux F, Gervais P. 1822. "Voyage de la Favourite. Reptiles ". Mag. Zool. Guérin, Paris 111: 1-10. (Coluber prevostianus, new species, p. 5).
  2. Boulenger GA. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ) ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Genus Gerardia [sic], p. 20; species G. prevostiana, pp. 20-21).
  3. "Gerarda prevostiana ". The Reptile Database.
  4. 1 2 Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Genus Gerarda, p. 99; species G. prevostiana, p. 211).
  5. Jayne BC, Voris HK, Ng PKL. 2002. "Snake circumvents constraints on prey size". Nature 418: 143.
  6. 1 2 3 Boulenger GA. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor & Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Gerardia [sic] prevostiana, p. 379).

Further reading

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