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Dendrelaphis proarchos (WALL, 1909)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymDendrophis proarchos WALL 1909: 347
Dendrophis proarchos WALL 1910: 827
Dendrophis proarchus (sic) — WALL 1921:157
Dendrelaphis pictus pictus — WHITAKER & CAPTAIN 2004:174 (part.)
Dendrelaphis proarchos — VOGEL & VAN ROOIJEN 2011
Dendrelaphis proarchos — DAS 2012
Dendrelaphis proarchos — PURKAYASTHA 2013
Dendrelaphis proarchos — HAKIM et al. 2020 
DistributionIndia (Arunachal Pradesh [A. Captain, pers. comm.], Mizoram), Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, China

Type locality: Darjeeling (Wall, 1909); ‘‘Sadiya’’ (also Sadia, a small town in the Tinsukia District), ‘‘north Lakhimpur (Dejoo) (a tea estate near the city in Lakhimpur district in the state of Assam), Doom Dooma (a town in Tinsukia district), and Dibrugarh (a small town along the Brahmaputra River’’ (all in the northeastern Indian state of Assam).  
TypesSyntpes: lost, possibly in BNHS but not there (Vogel & Rooijen 2011). Wall 1910 mentioned 24 syntypes. 2 or more were sent to BMNH, including BMNH 1908.6.23.27, adult female. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (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. 
CommentSynonymy. Wall (1909) announced the description of a new species in a future paper on snakes of Assam. Unfortunately, he described one specimen in detail along with the species’ intended name, D. proarchos. The description provided by him in a subsequent paper (Wall, 1910) must be regarded as secondary homonym and, thus, a synonym of D. proarchos Wall, 1909 (ICZN, 1999). For unknown reasons, Wall named this same species D. proarchus (sic) in 1921 (Vogel & Rooijen 2011). Most indochinese populations were considered as D. pictus in much of recent history and only 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.

Similar species: D. pictus, see also this species.

Behavior: diurnal

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018, by implication)

Type species: Dendrophis proarchos WALL 1909: 347 is the type species of the genus Dendrelaphis WALL 1909. 
  • 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
  • Hakim, J., Trageser, S. J., Ghose, A., Rashid, S. M. A., & Rahman, S. C. 2020. Amphibians and reptiles from Lawachara National Park in Bangladesh. Check List, 16: 1239 - get paper here
  • Mahananda, P., S.N. Jelil, S.C. Bohra, N. Mahanta, R.B. Saikia & J. Purkayastha 2023. Terrestrial vertebrate and butterfly diversity of Garbhanga Landscape, Assam, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 15(4): 23029–23046 - 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
  • Purkayastha J. 2013. An Amateur’s Guide to Reptiles of Assam. EBH Publishers (India) - get paper here
  • Vogel, Gernot and Johan van Rooijen 2011. Contributions to a Review of the Dendrelaphis pictus (Gmelin, 1789) Complex (Serpentes: Colubridae)—3. The Indian Forms, with the Description of a New Species from the Western Ghats. Journal of Herpetology 45 (1): 100-110. - 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,F. 1909. Notes on snakes from the neighbourhood of Darjeeling. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 19: 337-357 - get paper here
  • Wall. F. 1921. Remarks on the lndian species of Dendrophis and Dendrelaphis. Records of the Indian Museum 22: 151 - 162 - get paper here
  • Whitaker, Romulus and Ashok Captain 2004. Snakes of India. Draco Books, 500 pp., reprinted 2007 - get paper here
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