A new species of natricine snake of the Southeast Asian genus Opisthotropis
Gü nther, 1872 is described from western Hunan Province of China based on both mitochondrial DNA and morphological data. The new species is morphologically most similar and genetically most closely related to O. cheni
Zhao, 1999 and O. latouchii
(Boulenger, 1899), but possesses considerable genetic divergence (p
-distance 5.1%-16.7%) and can be differentiated from all other congeners by a combination of the following morphological characters: (1) body size large (total length 514-586 mm) and strongly built; (2) dorsal scale rows 17 throughout, feebly keeled anteriorly and moderately keeled posteriorly; (3) ventral scales 147-152, subcaudal scales 54-62; (4) preocular absent, loreal elongated and touching orbit; (5) supralabials 8-9, fifth and sixth entering obit; (6) anterior temporals short, length 1.74-2.04 times longer than width; (7) maxillary teeth subequal, 28-30; (8) dorsal surface of head with distinct irregular yellow stripes and markings edged with ochre; (9) body with clear black and yellow longitudinal streaks, partly fused to several lighter patches or thicker stripes anteriorly; and (10) venter pale yellow, with asymmetric blackish speckles along outer margin. We present an updated diagnostic key to all members of the genus Opisthotropis
, and recommendations on the ecological study for the group are provided.