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Dendrelaphis pictus (GMELIN, 1789)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Serpentes (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Common Bronze-back, Painted Bronzeback, Indonesian Bronze-back
G: Gefleckte Bronzenatter, Gemeine Bronzenatter 
SynonymColuber pictus GMELIN in LINNAEUS 1789: 1116
Coluber ahaetulla LINNAEUS 1758 (part., nec Coluber pictus GMELIN 1789)
Coluber boiga LACÉPÈDE 1789 (Name invalidated)
Coluber pictus GMELIN 1789: 1116
Coluber decorus SHAW 1802: 538
Ahaetulla fasciata — LINK 1807 (fide STEJNEGER 1933)
Ahaetulla decorus — GRAY 1825: 208
Dendrophis decorus — FITZINGER 1826: 60
Dendrophis pictus - BOIE 1827: 530
Ahaetulla bellii HARDWICKE & GRAY 1834 (fide ROOIJEN & VOGEL 2008)
Dendrophis picta - SCHLEGEL 1837
Leptophis pictus - CANTOR 1847
Dendrophis picta — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 197
Ahaetulla picta - COPE 1861
Dendrophis pictus var. - BOETTGER 1883
Dendrophis pictus — FISCHER 1884: 49
Dendrophis pictus — BOULENGER 1894: 78
Dendorophis (sic) pictus, forma typica - COHN 1905
Dendrophis pictus — WALL 1907: 189
Dendrophis proarchos WALL 1909
Dendrelaphis proarchos — WALL 1909
Dendrophis proarchus (sic) — WALL 1921:157
Dendrophis pictus — DE ROOIJ 1917: 58
Ahaetulla boiga - SCHMIDT 1927: 445
Ahaetulla boiga boiga — MERTENS 1930
Dendrophis pictus pictus - BRONGERSMA 1931
Dendrophis boiga - STEJNEGER 1933
Dendrelaphis pictus pictus - MERTENS 1934
Dendrophis pictus pictus — KOPSTEIN 1938
Ahaetulla boiga boiga - LADIGES 1939
Ahaetulla ahaetulla - SMITH 1943: 242
Ahaetulla picta picta - HAAS 1950
Dendrelaphis (boiga) -SAVAGE 1952
Dendrelaphis pictus - TWEEDIE 1983
Dendrelaphis pictus — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 338
Dendrelaphis pictus — COX et al. 1998: 71
Dendrelaphis pictus pictus — GAULKE 1999
Dendrelaphis pictus — VOGEL & VAN ROOIJEN 2011
Dendrelaphis proarchos — VOGEL & VAN ROOIJEN 2011 
DistributionIndia (Arunachal Pradesh (Chessa, Chimpu, Itanagar- Papum Pare district) [A. Captain, pers. comm.]),
Burma = Myanmar,
W Malaysia (fide Grandison 1977), Pulau Tioman, Johor: Pulau Besar,
Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Komodo),
S China ? (Hainan, Hong Kong, westward to Yunnan)

Indonesia (Ambon, Bali, Bangka, Belitung, Boano, Butung, Java, Kalimantan, Lombok, Manipa, Mentawai Archipelago, Misool, Natuna Archipelago, Nias, Nusa Penida, Riau Archipelago, Sangihe Archipelago, Seram, Sula Archipelago, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Ternate, We);
Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; Hong Kong;
India (including Nicobar Islands); Laos; Myanmar; Nepal;
Malaysia (Malaya and East Malaysia); Borneo
People's Republic of China (including Hainan);
Philippine Islands (including Palawan and Sulu Archipelago; Calamian Islands, Panay, Luzon);
Singapore; Thailand; Vietnam (Binh Thuan etc.).

Type locality: not indicated for Coluber pictus GMELIN. “Borneo” for Coluber boiga LACÉPÈDE 1789. Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
TypesHolotype: ZSI 7714 
CommentThe name Coluber boiga Lacepède 1789 has been invalidated (ICZN 1958 Opinion 525).

Distribution: Reported from but not listed for the Andaman Islands by DAS 1999. See also D. andamanensis. Not on Panay (M. Gaulke, pers. comm., 26 Dec 2012). Possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012).

Synonymy partly after STEJNEGER 1933. VOGEL & VAN ROOIJEN 2011 revalidated D. proarchos (Wall, 1909) to represent the populations from northeast India, Myanmar, southern China (Hengduan mountains), north Laos, and north Vietnam. However, they do not provide a clear diagnosis and no (new) diagnosis for C. pictus, so we leave proarchos as a synonym of D. pictus for the time being.

Subspecies: Dendrelaphis pictus andamanensis (ANDERSON 1871) has been elevated to full species status.

The original description of D. pictus was provided in Latin. The translation is as follows: “Colubrid snake with bluish dorsum, a white coloration laterally bordered by a black stripe. Pointed snout. 172[ventrals]- 142 [subcaudals]”. The “white coloration laterally bordered by a black stripe” very probably refers to the light ventrolateral line and adjoining black lines, which are invariably present in D. pictus. The “bluish dorsum” is not informative as the original coloration of conserved specimens often turns into blue [from VOGEL & VAN ROOIJEN 2008).

Diagnosis (proarchos): A species of Dendrelaphis, characterized by the combination of (1) vertebral scales enlarged, smaller than or equal to the dorsals of the first row; (2) 173–198 ventrals; (3) 138–156 divided subcaudals; (4) 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody; (5) anal shield undivided in 40% of specimens; (6) one loreal scale; (7) two or three supralabials touching the eye; (8) a short first sublabial that touches two infralabials in the majority of specimens; (9) 6–16 temporal scales; (10) two to three postoculars; (11) maximum total length 121.0 cm; (12) Rel TAIL 0.30–0.36; (13) a black temporal stripe that starts behind the eye, covers the majority of the temporal region and extends onto the neck; (14) a bright, light ventrolateral stripe bordered by one or two black lines. Holotype.—Not located, but see discussion in VOGEL & VAN ROOIJEN 2011.

Behavior: diurnal

Habitat: arboreal

Reproduction: oviparous. 
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