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Dendrelaphis philippinensis (GÜNTHER, 1879)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Philippine Bronze-back Tree Snake 
SynonymDendrophis philippinensis GÜNTHER 1879: 78
Dendrelaphis caeruleatus GRIFFIN 1909: 55
Dendrelaphis philippinensis — VAN ROOIJEN & VOGEL 2012
Dendrelaphis philippinensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 219 
DistributionPhilippine islands (Basilan, Mindanao, Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Polillo, Kalotkot, Catanduanes, South Luzon [Albay]), Micronesia (Saipan)

Type locality: N Mindanao  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.6.69 (formerly BMNH 1877.10.9.62), adult female from North Mindanao collected by A. Everett; 
CommentSynonymy: Wallach et al. 2014

Description. A species of the Dendrelaphis caudolineatus group, characterized by the combination of 1) a reduced pattern of black longitudinal stripes, 2–6 black longitudinal stripes at midbody; 2) a pale ventrolateral line is absent or faintly present; 3) a postocular stripe is present and extends onto the neck; 4) 162–170 ventrals (males), 161–172 [179] ventrals (females); 5) 94–108 subcaudals; 6) relative tail-length 0.268–0.298 (males), 0.252–0.290 (females); 7) 6–7 temporal scales on each side; 8) 9–11 infralabials on each side; 9) 2–5 scales touching the posterior borders of the parietal scales; 10) maximum total length males 89.0 cm, females 119.5 cm [VAN ROOIJEN & VOGEL 2012]

Geographic variation. In spite of the large number of geographically isolated populations, D. philippinensis appears to exhibit little inter-population variation in its morphology. However, populations do differ in their coloration. For instance, in the population from Mindanao (Fig. 12), the pattern of longitudinal black stripes is reduced to two narrow stripes that occupy little more than the outer edges of the ventral scales whereas the populations from South Luzon and Catanduanes (Fig. 13) exhibit comparatively pronounced longitudinal stripes. This may be taxonomically significant. On the other hand, differences in the degree to which the pattern of longitudinal stripes is manifest, were also noted within populations [][VAN ROOIJEN & VOGEL 2012].

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
  • Blackburn, D.G. 1993. STANDARDIZED CRITERIA FOR THE RECOGNITION OF REPRODUCTIVE MODES IN SQUAMATE REPTILES. Herpetologica 49 (1): 118-132 - get paper here
  • Buden, Donald W.; Kevin de Queiroz, Johan Van Rooijen, Derek W. Stinson, Gary J. Wiles, and Sabrino Robert 2014. New Information and Reappraisals Concerning Some Alien and Indigenous Snake Records from the Federated States of Micronesia and the Mariana Islands. Pacific Science Apr 2014, Vol. 68, No. 2: 287-293. - get paper here
  • Griffin, L.E. 1909. Two new species of snakes found in the Philippine islands. Philippine Journal of Science A4: 55–56 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1879. List of mammals, reptiles, and batrachians sent by Mr. Everett from the Philippine Islands. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1879: 74-79 - get paper here
  • ROOIJEN, JOHAN VAN & GERNOT VOGEL 2012. A revision of the taxonomy of Dendrelaphis caudolineatus (Gray, 1834) (Serpentes: Colubridae). Zootaxa 3272: 1–25
  • Sanguila MB, Cobb KA, Siler CD, Diesmos AC, Alcala AC, Brown RM 2016. The amphibians and reptiles of Mindanao Island, southern Philippines, II: the herpetofauna of northeast Mindanao and adjacent islands. ZooKeys 624: 1–132, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.624.9814 - get paper here
  • SUPSUP, Christian E.; Nevong M. PUNA, Augusto A. ASIS, Bernard R. REDOBLADO, Maria Fatima G. PANAGUINIT, Faith M. GUINTO, Edmund B. RICO, Arvin C. DIESMOS, Rafe M. BROWN and Neil Aldrin D. MALLARI 2016. Amphibians and Reptiles of Cebu, Philippines: The Poorly Understood Herpetofauna of an Island with Very Little Remaining Natural Habitat. Asian Herpetological Research 2016, 7(3): 151–179 DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.150049 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Weinell, Jeffrey L.; Errol Hooper, Alan E. Leviton, Rafe M. Brown 2019. Illustrated Key to the Snakes of the Philippines. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 66 (1): 1-49 - get paper here
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