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Lycodon aulicus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Indian Wolf Snake, Common Wolf Snake
G: Gewöhnliche Wolfszahnnatter 
SynonymColuber aulicus LINNAEUS 1758: 220
Natrix aulica — LAURENTI 1768: 74
Lycodon unicolor BOIE 1827 (fide SMITH 1943)
Lycodon subfuscus CANTOR 1839 (fide SMITH 1943)
Lycodon atropurpureus CANTOR 1839 (fide SMITH 1943)
Boaedon unicolor — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 359
Lycodon aulicum — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 369
Lycodon aulicus — GÜNTHER 1864
Lycodon aulicus — STOLICZKA 1870: 201
Lycodon atropurpureus — BOULENGER 1891: 463
Lycodon aulicus — BOULENGER 1893: 352
Lycodon atropurpureus — BOULENGER 1893: 356
Ophites aulicus — WALL 1921
Lycodon aulicus — WALL 1921: 151
Lycodon aulicus — SMITH 1943: 263
Ophites aulicus TEO & RAJATHURAI 1997
Lycodon aulicus — LANZA 1999
Lycodon aulicus — MURTHY 2010
Lycodon aulicus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 391 
DistributionIndia (north to Himalyas and Assam; Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra [A. Captain, pers. comm.]; throughout India: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkand, Punjab [Dino Aulakh, pers. comm.], Tripura), Pakistan, Nepal (Terai, Dolakha District, Kathmandu valley), Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka (David & Vogel 1996), Bangladesh, China

Type locality: “America” (in error). “India” fide KRAMER 1977  
TypesHolotype: NRM (Stockholm) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Species of the genus Lycodon are characterized by (1) their strongly arched maxillary bone bending inwards anteriorly, having three to six enlarged and fang-like anterior maxillary teeth without venomous grooves, increasing in size posteriorly, separated by a diastema from the posterior seven to fifteen teeth, posteriorly increasing in size, the last two being enlarged; (2) rounded orbit with vertical elliptic pupil; (3) smooth or weakly keeled dorsal scales in rows of 15–21 (Smith 1943; Taylor 1965; Lanza 1999; Stuebing et al. 1999; Daltry & Wüster 2002; Das 2010; Vogel & David 2010; Vogel et al. 2009, 2012); (4) most wolf snakes have a distinct or indistinct white or pale brown nuchal collar followed posteriorly by a black to blackish-brown ground color with various white, cream or yellow bands, blotches and speckles (some without pale coloration) on body and tail; (5) the anal plate varies from divided to undivided (Lanza 1999; Daltry & Wüster 2002; Das 2010, Neang et al. 2014).

Diagnosis (aulicus). A species of Lycodon inhabiting the Indian subcontinent, characterised by (1) a wide and large head, (2) a distinct creamy white col- lar-mark on head across parietal scales converging to- wards snout-tip, (3) a dark blackish-brown body with creamy white cross bars in life, (4) preocular usually contacting frontal, (5) supraocular usually not contacting prefrontal, (6) a fairly elongate hemipenis with smaller flounces and spines, (7) supralabials white, usually 9 on each side, (8) divided anal scale, (9) scale rows 17:17:15, (10) ventrals: 180–215 and subcaudals: 57–78 pairs, (11) relative tail length 0.15–0.20 [Ganesh & Vogel 2018] 
CommentFor a discussion of nomenclatorial issues concerning the genera Lycodon and Ophites see Zhao & Adler (who listed this species under Ophites).

Type species: Coluber aulicus LINNAEUS 158 is the type species of the genus Lycodon BOIE in FITZINGER 1826: 30, 5.

Similar species: Lycodon capucinus (both aulicus and capucinus are “almost indistinguishable” (O’Shea et al. 2018). 
EtymologyEtymology (genus): named after Greek lykos = wolf, and Greek “odous, odontos” = tooth, i.e. wolf teeth.  
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