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Bungarus fasciatus (SCHNEIDER, 1801)

IUCN Red List - Bungarus fasciatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Banded Krait
G: Gelbgebänderter Krait
Chinese: 金环蛇 
SynonymPseudoboa Fasciata SCHNEIDER 1801: 283
Boa fasciata — SHAW 1802
Bungarus annularis DAUDIN 1803
Aspidoclonion annulare — WAGLER 1830
Bungarus fasciatus — CANTOR 1847
Bungarus annularis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1269
Bungarus fasciatus bifasciatus MELL 1929
Bungarus fasciatus insularis MELL 1930
Bungarus fasciatus fasciatus — MELL 1931
Bungarus fasciatus — SMITH 1943: 411
Bungarus fasiatus (sic) — WERLER & KEEGAN 1963
Bungarus fasciatus — WELCH 1994: 37
Bungarus fasciatus — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 417
Bungarus fasciatus — COX et al. 1998: 30
Bungarus fasciatus — ZIEGLER 2002: 268
Bungarus fasciatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 128
Bungarus fasciatus — WANG et al. 2022 
DistributionBangladesh, Brunei Darussalam; Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia,
S China (incl. Hong Kong, Hainan, Fujian),
NE India (Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa = Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh (Chessa – Papum Pare district) [A. Captain, pers. Comm.], Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Mizoram, Telangana), Bhutan, Nepal,
Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Bali)
Laos, Macau; Malaysia (Malaya and East Malaysia); Singapore;
Thailand, Vietnam (Hoa Binh, Yen Bai etc.)

Type locality: “Bengal, India”; “Mansoor Cottah, Bengal” (fide RUSSELL 1796), at present a seaport ca. 24 km south of Ganjam, Orissa = Odisha State, SE India.  
TypesHolotype: iconotype, based on Russell, 1796:3 and pl. iii.
Syntypes: ZMB 2771-2 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): The head is not distinct from the neck. The eyes are small. The head has complete scalation. There is no loreal scale. The dorsal scales are smooth and not oblique. The mid-dorsal row is enlarged. The fang is short, the tail is rather small, and the subcaudals are entire (except in B. bungaroides). [Das 2018]

DIAGNOSIS: Dorsal scales in 15 longitudinal rows at midbody; sub-caudal scutes undivided throughout; middorsal row of scales (vertebrals) strongly enlarged, as broad as or broader than long; tail end blunt; distinct vertebral ridge down the back formed by the neural processes of the vertebrae; ventrals 200–234; subcaudals 23–39; pattern of black and yellow bands, all of which encircle body. Total length recorded to 2125 mm, said to be rare over 1800 mm (Smith, 1943:412.)

Original description: see Bauer & Lavilla 2021.

Redescription: “Based on the overall examined MZ materials with combined sexes, adults SVL 444.0–1220.0 mm, tail length 47.0–133.0 mm; head elongate (HL 2.0–3.5% of SVL), wide (HW 71.8–92.1% of HL), slightly flattened, indistinct from neck; snout elongate (ES 22.8–40.1% of HL), moderate, flat in dorsal view, rounded in lateral profile, rather depressed. Rostral shield large, flat, slightly visible from above, pointed posteriorly; interorbital width broad; internasals subtriangular; nostrils rather large, nasals large, divided, and elongated, in anterior contact with rostral, and internasal and prefrontal dorsally, 1st and 2nd supralabial ventrally, preocular posteriorly; no loreal; prefrontal rather large, broader than long, and pentagonal; frontal large, hexagonal, short, slightly longer than width; supraoculars narrow, elongate, subrectangular, posteriorly wider; parietals large, elongate, butterfly wing-like in shape, bordered by supraoculars, frontal, upper postocular anteriorly, anterior and upper posterior temporals, and five or six nuchal scales posteriorly; one preocular, vertically slightly elongated, hexagonal, in contact with prefrontal and posterior nasal anteriorly, supraocular dorsally, and 2nd and 3rd supralabials ventrally; eye moderate (ED 10.7–21.7% of HL), round, about half of the size of snout length (ED 41.7–69.9% of ES), pupil rounded; two postoculars, subequal or upper one larger, pentagonal, upper postocular in broad contact with supraocular, parietal and anterior temporal, lower postocular in contact with anterior temporal and 5th supralabials; temporals 1 + 2, large, slightly elongated, subrectangular or pentagonal; anterior temporal larger than posterior temporal, in contact with parietal and both postoculars dorsally, and 5th and 6th supralabial ventrally; lower posterior temporal in contact with 6th and 7th supralabials ventrally. Supralabials seven (on both sides), 5th–7th largest in size; 1st supralabial in contact with rostral anteriorly, nasals dorsally, 2nd with posterior nasal and preocular dorsally, 3rd with preocular and orbit dorsally, 4th with orbit; 5th with orbit, lower postocular, and anterior temporal dorsally, and 6th with anterior and lower posterior temporals dorsally, 7th with lower posterior temporal dorsally and scales of the neck posteriorly.
Mental large, triangular, blunt posteriorly; first infralabial pair larger than mental plate and in broad contact with each other, in contact with anterior chin shields posteriorly; seven infralabials, 1st–4th in contact with anterior chin shields, 4th infralabial largest in size in contact with both anterior and posterior chin shields; 4th–7th infralabials in contact with gular scales; two larger anterior chin shields, and two slightly smaller posterior chin shields; anterior chin shields in broad contact between them; posterior chin shields bordered posteriorly by seven gular scales.
Body robust, elongate and subcylindrical; dorsal scales in 15 midbody rows, all smooth and pointed posteriorly; 222–228 ventrals in males and 224–231 in females; cloacal plate divided. Tail comparatively short, TaL 8.9–10.4% of total length in males and 13.5–17.1% of total length in males, robust and thick; subcaudals 35–37 in males and 32–36 in females, divided.” (Biakzuala et al. 2023)

Coloration. “In preservative, dorsum and venter white or yellow; 22–27 black cross bands along the body and 4 or 6 on the tail; cross bands complete laterally, and reaching the ventrals except the nuchal band; the bands on the tail distinct; the nuchal band on the nape anteriorly inverted V-shaped covering 15–20 vertebral scales; nuchal band starts from mid frontal; snout, anterior head, and lateral head black making remaining the white dorsal color an inverted V-shaped marking; first black band on the body covering 6 or 7 vertebral scales; interband width covers with 3–5 vertebral scales; lower parts of the supralabials white; ventral head white until the first black band; tail tip black dorsally, white ventrally.
In life (Fig. 4A), same color as in preservative, but the white body color may vary from white, cream, pale yellow to bright yellow. One juvenile with cream and black body bands was encountered in Saikhawthlir, MZ (Fig. 4B), but the snake escaped before recording morphological data.” (Biakzuala et al. 2023)

Variation. Except the anomalous specimen (MZMU1321) which had three postoculars on left and two on right, and temporals 1+2 on the left and 2+2 on the right, all other meristic and morphometric characters obtained so far did not show any significant variation between the examined populations, and also correspond to the conventional taxonomical characters provided in previously published literature.” (Biakzuala et al. 2023) 

Type species: Bungarus annularis is the type species of the genus Bungarus.

Phylogenetics: DNA barcodes suggested multiple species within this species (Laopichienpong et al. 2016). Further genetic analysis revealed 3 clades. Biakzuala et al. 2023 detected some morphological differences but did not name them.

Distribution: has been found in Micronesia and may have been introduced there (Buden & Taboroši 2016). Biakzuala et al. 2023 split B. fasciatus into 3 clades and redescribed B. fasciatus “s.str.”, without describing the other clades as new taxa. See map for the ranges of the 3 clades in Biakzuala et al. 2023: 9 (Fig. 6).

Key: a key to the species of Bungarus is provided in Chen et al. 2021. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin fascia = band, for the dorsal cross-bands in this species. 
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