Thermophis baileyi


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Thermophis baileyi
Species Authority: (Wall, 1907)
Common Name(s):
English Xizang Hot-spring Keel-back
Tropidonotus baileyi Wall, 1907

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2011-08-30
Assessor(s): Rao, D.-q. & Li, P.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & Bowles, P.
This species is listed as Near Threatened in view of its reliance on areas of hot springs at high altitudes (a restricted area of occupancy), although its extent of occurrence is much larger than 20,000 km2, and its population is is estimated to number 13,000 individuals, the extent and quality of its habitat is potentially threatened because of the construction of geo-thermal hydro-electric stations and human disturbance. It almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion B2ab(iii).
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has been recorded from Jiangzi, Gongbujiangda, Dangxiong-Yangbajin, Lhasa, Mozhugongka, Shigatse of Xizang (= Tibet), China (Guo and Chen 2000). It has been recorded along the Brahmaputra River in Xizang (= Tibet). It is found at elevations of 3,000 to 4,440 m asl.
China (Tibet [or Xizang])
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Because of construction of geo-thermal hydro-electric stations and human disturbance, the population of this species is decreasing (Guo and Chen 2000). The population was estimated as 13,000 individuals (State Forestry Administration of China 2009).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Very little information is available for this species. They live in rocks, streams, marshes and meadows near hot springs of 3,000 to 4,900 m altitude. Li (2007) found that this species mainly feeds on alpine frogs (Nanorana parkeri) and fish (Schizothorax o’connon and Triplophysa spp.) The female lays around six eggs. It might be ovoviparous.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened through the potential construction of geo-thermal hydro-electric stations and human disturbance.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation actions are currently known for this species. More information is needed on this species' population dynamics, natural history and threats. It is not known if the species is present in any protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Guo P. and Chen Y. 2000. A rare endemic snake species in China Thermophis baileyi. Sichuan Journal of Zoology 19(2): 79-80.

Huang S., Liu S., Guo P., Zhang Y. and Zhao E. 2009. What are the closest relatives of the hot-spring snakes (Colubridae, Thermophis), the relict species endemic to the Tibetan Plateau? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51: 438–446.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2014).

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1988. 1988 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Li, J. 2007. Discussion of food and eating habit of Tibetan Hot Spring Snake: Thermophis baileyi. Journal of Tibet University 22(2): 85-90.

Liu S. and Zhao E. 2004. Discovery of Thermophis baileyi, a snake endemic to Xizang AR, from Litang Co., Sichuan, China. Sichuan Journal of Zoology 23(3): 234-235.

Malnate, E.V. 1953. The taxonomic status of the Tibetan Colurid snake Natrix baileyi. Copeia 1953(2): 92-96.

State Forestry Administation of China. 2009. Resources survey on key terrestrial wild animals in China. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing.

Wall, F. 1907. Some new Asian snakes. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 17(3): 612-618.

Wang, S. and Xie, Y. (eds.). 2009. China Species Red List Vol. II - Vertebrates Part 2. Biodiversity Working Group of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, Beijing.

Citation: Rao, D.-q. & Li, P. 2014. Thermophis baileyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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