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Ahaetulla flavescens (WALL, 1910)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Yellow whip snake
G: Gelbe Peitschennatter 
SynonymDryophis prasinus flavescens WALL 1910: 834
Dryophis prasinus indicus MELL 1931: 119–219 (by implication)
Dryophis prasina – GÜNTHER 1858: 159 (part)
Tragops prasinus – GÜNTHER 1864: 364
Tragops prasinus – THEOBALD 1876: 191
Dryophis prasinus – BOULENGER 1890: 369
Dryophis prasinus – BOULENGER 1896: 180 (part)
Dryophis prasinus ‘forma typica’ – WALL 1909: 354 (non H. Boie in F. Boie, 1827)
Dryophis prasinus ‘forma typica’ – WALL 1909: 898 (non H. Boie in F. Boie, 1827)
Dryophis prasinus ‘forma typica’ – WALL 1910: 834 (non H. Boie in F. Boie, 1827)
Dryophis prasinus flavescens – WALL 1910: 834 (nec Smith, 1914)
Ahaetulla flavescens — SRIKANTHAN et al. 2022
Ahaetulla flavescens — MALSAWMDAWNGLIANA et al. 2022 
DistributionIndia (Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram), Bhutan
Myanmar (= Burma),

Lectotype locality: Lakimpur, Assam, Northeast India”; 27°13’40.8’’ N, 94°6’28.8’’ E.  
TypesSyntype: NHMUK (= BMNH) 1908.6.23.58, female, designated by Srikanthan et al. 2022. Paralectotype: NHMUK (= BMNH) 1908.6.23.59, female. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “A species of Ahaetulla inhabiting Northeast India, defined by the following combination of characters: dorsal scales in 15:15:11–13 smooth rows (vs 13 midbody rows of keeled scales in Proahaetulla Link, 1807); rostral appendage absent (vs present in the A. nasuta group and A. pulverulenta groups); presence of a pair of white ventrolateral stripes throughout the body (vs absence of ventrolateral stripes in the A. pulverulenta group); dorsum usually greenish (vs usually brownish in both sexes in the A. pulverulenta and A. laudankia groups; usually brown in females, in A. anomala (Annandale, 1906), A. perrotetii (Duméril & Bibron, 1854), A. dispar (Günther, 1864) and A. travancorica Mallik, Srikanthan, Pal, D’Souza, Shanker & Ganesh, 2020); crown uniform and unpatterned (vs crown with black markings and reticulations in A. anomala, A. laudankia Deepak, Narayanan, Sarkar, Dutta & Mohapatra, 2019 and A. fasciolata); ventrals 194–200 (vs < 190 in A. nasuta and A. pulverulenta groups); subcaudals 155–168 (vs < 120 in A. perrotetii, A. dispar and A. travancorica); cloacal scale paired (vs entire in A. mycterizans and A. fasciolata); supralabials entire (vs 3rd–4th supralabials horizontally divided in A. fronticincta); nasals not in contact with one another (vs in contact with one another above rostral in A. fronticincta); upper snout surface flat to mildly depressed (vs convex in A. mycterizans); 8.2–10% divergent in ND4 and 6.5–9.5% in Cytb gene from the SE Asian populations of A. prasina sensu lato.” (Srikanthan et al. 2022)

colouration in life. “Usually verdant green above, with fluorescent green on the ventral side. A pair of creamy white ventrolateral stripes extends from near neck up to the tip of the tail. Labials, chin and mental region whitish to cream coloured. Inter-scalar skin with alternating black and white ragged bands. Iris yellowish-green with black horizontal pupil. On occasions, body overall yellowish-brown, with minute black dots along the trunk. Venter cream to light brown, flanked on either side by off-white ventrolateral stripes from neck up to tail tip.” (Srikanthan et al. 2022: Figs 6–7) 
CommentSynonymy after Srikanthan et al. 2022 who revalidated it from the synonymy of A. prasina.

Distribution: see map in Srikanthan et al. 2022: .

Behavior: diurnal.

Venomous. Mildly venomous but usually harmless for humans.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Srikanthan et al. 2022). 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin verb ‘flavesco / flavescre’, meaning ‘turning to yellow’ / ‘becoming yellow’, referring to the yellowish colouration of the type specimens in life. 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1858. Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Malsawmdawngliana, B. Boruah, N.G. Patel, S. Lalronunga, I. Zosangliana, K. Lalhmangaiha & A. Das 2022. An updated checklist of reptiles from Dampa Tiger Reserve, Mizoram, India, with sixteen new distribution records. Journal of Threatened Taxa 14(10): 21946–21960 - get paper here
  • Mell,R. 1931. List of Chinese snakes. Lingnan Sci. Jour., Canton, 8 [1929]: 199-219.
  • Srikanthan, A. N., Adhikari, O. D., Kumar Mallik, A., Campbell, P. D., Bhushan Bhatt, B., Shanker, K., & Rajagopalan Ganesh, S. 2022. Taxonomic revaluation of the Ahaetulla prasina (H. Boie in F. Boie, 1827) complex from Northeast India: resurrection and redescription of Ahaetulla flavescens (Wall, 1910) (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae). European Journal of Taxonomy, 839: 120–148 - get paper here
  • Theobald,W. 1876. Descriptive catalogue of the reptiles of British India. Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta: xiii + 238 pp. - get paper here
  • Wall, FRANK 1910. Notes on snakes collected in Upper Assam. Part II. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 19 (4): 825-845 - get paper here
  • Wall, FRANK 1910. Notes on snakes collected in the Jalpaiguri district. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 19 (4): 897-900 [1909] - get paper here
  • Wall,F. 1909. Notes on snakes from the neighbourhood of Darjeeling. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 19: 337-357 - get paper here
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