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Calamaria grabowskyi FISCHER, 1885

IUCN Red List - Calamaria grabowskyi - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Calamariinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymCalamaria grabowskyi FISCHER 1885
Calamaria baluensis BOULENGER 1893
Calamaria moultoni DUNN 1923: 3
Calamaria grabowskyi — INGER & MARX 1965: 129
Calamaria baluensis — MANTHEY 1983
Calamaria grabowskyi — MANTHEY 1983
Calamaria grabowskyi — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 328
Calamaria grabowskyi — INGER & VORIS 2001
Calamaria grabowskyi — GOWER et al. 2012: 137
Calamaria grabowskyi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 137 
DistributionMalaysia (Borneo)

Type locality: Telang and Tameanglaijang; Dusson Timor District, SE Borneo.  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.1.5.25-26 (
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.2.23 ( [baluensis]
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.2.1 (1922.11.24.4) [moultoni] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Maxillary teeth modified; third and fourth supralabials entering orbit; preocular present; mental touching anterior chin shields; paraparietal surrounded by 5 scales and shields; reduction to 4 dorsal scale rows separated from terminal scute by 12 or more subcaudals; subcaudals 20 or more; ventrals of males 150 or more, of females usually 170 or more (Inger & Marx 1965: 130).

Description. Rostral wider than high, or as high as wide, portion visible from above 1/2, to 3/4 length of prefrontal suture; prefrontal about 3/4 length of frontal, touching first 2 supralabials; frontal hexagonal, 1.5 to 2 times width of supraocular, equal to length of parietal; parietal 1.5 times length of prefrontal; paraparietal surrounded by 5 scales and shields (about 20% of specimens with 4 or
6) nasal smaller than postocular; preocular present; neither ocular as high as eye; eye greater than eye-mouth distance; 5 supralabials, third and fourth entering orbit, fifth the largest, first 4 subequal, or third somewhat larger; mental triangular, touching anterior chin shields; 5 infralabials, first 3 touching anterior chin shields; both pairs of chin shields meeting in midline; 3 gulars in midline between
posterior chin shields and first ventral. Bodythicknessindex0.011-0.062(10 specimens); tail long, tapering gradually to a blunt tip (Fig.10D); dorsal scales reduce to 4 rows on tail opposite twelfth to twenty-first subcaudal anterior to terminal scute; reduce to 2 rows near tip (Inger & Marx 1965: 130).

Hemipenis bifurcating opposite fifth subcaudal; sulcus spermaticus bifurcate, calyces smooth (1 specimen). Cloaca of female bilobed (1) (Inger & Marx 1965: 131).

Eight to 10 modified maxillary teeth (5 specimens) (Inger & Marx 1965: 131).

Scale counts: Ventrals: males, 150-186 (mean 170.7; N=15); females, 164-190 (mean179.2; N=18). Subcaudals: males, 23-29 (mean 26.3; N=15); females, 20-28 (mean 22.6; N=18) (Inger & Marx 1965: 131).

Total length; males, 182-365 mm.; females, 212-468 mm. Ratio of tail to total length: males, 0.085-0.104 (mean 0.095. N=15); females, 0.069-0.084 (mean 0.076; N=13) (Inger & Marx 1965: 131).

Coloration: dark brown above; each dorsal scale with a dark network; scattered dark brown or black spots forming dashes or short lines above; usually first three scale rows yellow just behind head, the yellow area bordered above by an irregular black stripe; scales of first row with white centers and dark edges forming a dark-edged white stripe running length of body; head brown above with dark brown or black spots; a dark brown or black stripe on side of head occupying upper third of supralabials and usually lower edge of prefrontal; lower two-thirds of supralabials yellow, with or without dark sutures; underside of head yellow, usually with small dark spots anteriorly; ventrals uniformly yellow or, more often, with varying amounts of black pigment; black pigment, when present, appears short distance behind head, taking form of median and lateral bands of transversely elongated dark spots; as amount of dark pigment increases, the rows of dark spots fuse to form a band across anterior edge of each ventral; at maximum black pigment includes all but a narrow posterior strip on each ventral; tail yellow below, with a black median band; subcaudals of some specimens with dark anterior edges (Inger & Marx 1965: 131). 
CommentSynonymy: Smith (1931) compared the types of moultoni, baluensis, and grabowskyi and concluded that they belonged to a single species, which was supported by Inger & Marx 1965. 
EtymologyNamed after Friederich J. Grabowsky (1857-1929), German zoologist and botanist. He became Director, Zoological Gardens, Breslau, and Inspector, Brunswick Zoological Institute. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Description of new reptiles and batrachians obtained in Borneo by Mr. C. Hose and Mr. A. Everett. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1893: 522-528 - get paper here
  • Das, I. 2012. A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of South-East Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford J, ohn Beaufoy Publishing - get paper here
  • Dunn, E.R. 1923. On a collection of reptiles from Sarawak. J. Malay. Br. Roy. As. Soc., Singapore, 1: 1-4.
  • Fischer, J. G. 1885. Über eine Kollektion von Amphibien und Reptilien aus Südost Borneo. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 51: 41-72 - get paper here
  • Gower, D.; Garrett, K. & Stafford, P. 2012. Snakes. Firefly Books, Buffalo, NY,<br />144 p..
  • Grismer, L. L., H. Kaiser & N. S. Yaakob 2004. A new species of Reed Snake of the genus Calamaria H. Boie, 1827, from Pulau Tioman, Pahang, West Malaysia. Hamadryad 28 (1&2): 1-6 - get paper here
  • Inger, R.F. & Voris, H. K. 2001. The biogeographical relations of the frogs and snakes of Sundaland. Journal of Biogeography 28: 863-89 1
  • Malkmus, R.; Manthey, U.; Vogel, G. Hoffmann, P. & Kosuch, J. 2002. Amphibians and reptiles of Mount Kinabalu (North Borneo). A.R.G. Ganther Verlag, Rugell, 404 pp.
  • Manthey, U. & Grossmann, W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 512 pp. - get paper here
  • Manthey,U. 1983. Exkursion am Mt. Kinabalu (4101 m), Nordborneo, Teil 3: Checkliste der Herpetofauna oberhalb 600 m ü. NN. Herpetofauna 5 (23): 20-31 - get paper here
  • Marx, H. & R. F. INGER 1955. Notes on the snakes of the genus Calamaria. Fieldiana: Zoology 37: 167 - 209 - get paper here
  • Murphy, J. C.; Voris, H. K.; Karns, D. R. 1994. A field guide and key to the snakes of the Danum Valley, A bornean tropical rainforest ecosystem. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 29: 133-151
  • Stuebing, R.B., Inger, R.F. & Lardner, B. 2014. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo, second edition. Natural history Publications (Borneo)
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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