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Lycodon travancoricus (BEDDOME, 1870)

IUCN Red List - Lycodon travancoricus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Travancore Wolf Snake 
SynonymCercaspis travancoricus BEDDOME 1870: 169
Lycodon travancoricus – BOULENGER 1890
Lycodon travancoricus — BOULENGER 1893: 355
Lycodon travancoricus — WALL 1905: 297
Lycodon aulicus travancoricus — CONSTABLE 1940
Lycodon travancoricus — SMITH 1943: 259
Lycodon travancoricus — LANZA 1999: 98
Lycodon travancoricus — MURTHY 2010
Lycodon travancoricus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 397 
DistributionPakistan, India (Western Ghats, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa = Odisha, Gujarat ?)

Type locality: “Travancore hills, Attraymallay, 5,000 feet elevation, Madras Presidency” [= Attraymallay, Travancore Hills, Kerala State, SW India, 1525 m elevation].  
TypesType: BMNH 1946.1.13.75 (and possibly additional specimens). 
DiagnosisDescription: Snout broad; anterior and posterior nasals subequaI; loreal normally not touching the eye, not touching the internasal;- a preocular; temporals 2 + 3 or 3 + 3; 9 supralabials; anterior pair of genials as large as or a littIe larger than the posterior. Scales in 17: 17 : 15 rows, smooth. V. 176-206, angulate laterally; C. 64-76, paired, or some, rarely all of them, single; A. 1.

Hemipenis extending to the 12th caudaI plate, forked at the tip; the distal one-third can be divided into two parts, a larger portion adjacent to the suIcus which is flounced and more or less calyculate, the flounces being large and arranged in oblique or transverse folds, and a narrower portion opposite to the sulcus which is spinose; the remainder of the organ is spinose, the largest spines being opposite the sulcus; at the extreme tip of the organ are two small smooth areas or pockets.

Coloration: Dark purplish-brown or blackish above, with pale yellow cross-bars which bifurcate on the sides, enclosing more or less triangular spots; the first cross-bar is on the nape; those on the anterior part of the body are further apart than those on the posterior; all of them are more or less distinctly speckled with black; uniform white below; upper lip usually brown, spotted with white (Smith 1943: 259). 
CommentDistribution: Endemic to India fide MURTHY 2010. Reports from Gujarat have been questioned by Patel & Vyas 2019. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Beddome, R. H. 1870. Descriptions of new reptiles from the Madras Presidency. Madras Monthly J. Med. Sci., 2: 169-176 [Reprint.: J. Soc. Bibliogr. Nat. Sci., London, 1 (10): 327-334, 1940]
  • Bhupathy, Subramanian & N. Sathishkumar 2013. Status of reptiles in Meghamalai and its environs, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5 (15): 4953-4961 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - get paper here
  • Chandra K., Gajbe P. U. 2005. An inventory of herpetofauna of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Zoos' Print Journal 20 (3): 1812-1819 - get paper here
  • Chandramouli, S. R. and S. R. Ganesh 2010. Herpetofauna of southern Western Ghats, India – Reinvestigated after decades. Taprobanica 2 (2): 72-85 - get paper here
  • CHIKANE, S. & H. S. Bhosale 2012. Die Reptilien von Kaas, nördliche Western Ghats, Maharashtra, Indien, mit Bemerkungen zu Vorzugsbiotopen, Häufigkeiten und Gefährdung. Sauria 34 (3): 3-15 - get paper here
  • Constable, JOHN D. 1949. Reptiles from the Indian Peninsula in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 103: 59-160. - get paper here
  • Ganesh S. R., Asokan J. R. 2010. Catalogue of Indian herpetological specimens in the collection of the Government Museum Chennai, India. Hamadryad 35 (1): 46 – 63 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S. R., S. R. Chadramouli, R. Sreekar and P. Gowri Shankar 2013. Reptiles of the central Western Ghats, India — A reappraisal and revised checklist, with emphasis on the Agumbe Plateau. Russ. J. Herpetol. 20 (3): 181-189 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S. R.; M. Arumugam 2016. Species Richness of Montane Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India: A Historical Resume and a Descriptive Checklist. Russ. J. Herpetol. 23 (1): 7-24 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S. R.; Subramanian Bhupathy, Patrick David, N. Sathishkumar, G. Srinivas 2014. Snake Fauna of High Wavy Mountains, Western Ghats, India: Species Richness, Status, and Distribution Pattern. Russ. J. Herpetol. 21 (1): 53-64
  • Ganesh, S.R. et al. 2020. Redescription of Lycodon travancoricus (Beddome, 1870) (Reptilia: Colubridae), an Indian endemic snake, with a review of its geographic range. TAPROBANICA 9 (1): 50-58 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R.; A. Kalaimani, P. Karthik, N. Baskaran, R. Nagarajan & S.R.Chandramouli 2018. Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India – II From Western Ghats to Coromandel Coast. Asian Journal of Conservation Biology, July 2018. Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 28-45 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R.; S. Bhupathy, P. Karthik, G. Babu Rao & S. Babu 2020. Catalogue of herpetological specimens from peninsular India at the Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), India. JoTT 12 (9): 16123–16135 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, Sumaithangi Rajagopalan & Gernot Vogel 2018. Taxonomic reassessment of the Common Indian Wolf Snakes Lycodon aulicus (Linnaeus, 1758) complex (Squamata: Serpentes: Colubridae). Bonn zoological Bulletin 67 (1): 25–36 - get paper here
  • Inger, Robert F.;Shaffer, H. Bradley;Koshy, Mammen;Bakde, Ramesh 1984. A report on a collection of amphibians and reptiles from the Ponmudi, Kerala, South India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 81 (3): 551-570 - get paper here
  • Janssen HY, Pham CT, Ngo HT, Le MD, Nguyen TQ, Ziegler T 2019. A new species of Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes, Colubridae) from northern Vietnam. ZooKeys 875: 1-29 - get paper here
  • Jigar, Solanki; Khare Rounak and Andhale Atmaram Vitthal 2022. CHECKLIST OF SNAKES FOUND IN MAVAL TALUKA, PUNE, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA. CIBTech Journal of Zoology 11: 182-192 - get paper here
  • Lanza,B. 1999. A new species of Lycodon from the Philippines, with a key to the genus (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae). Tropical Zoology 12: 89-104 - get paper here
  • Mukherjee, Debanik and S. Bhupathy 2007. A new species of wolf snake (Serpentes: Colubridae: Lycodon) from Anaikatti Hills, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India. Russ. J. Herpetol. 14 (1):21-26. - get paper here
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 1990. Illustrated guide to the snakes of the Western Ghats, India. Zoological Survey of India Occasional Paper (114): 1-76 - get paper here
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
  • Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
  • Patel H, Vyas R, Vaghashiya P 2019. On the distribution of Ahaetulla laudankia Deepak, Narayanan, Sarkar, Dutta & Mohapatra, 2019 and Lycodon travancoricus (Beddome, 1870) (Squamata, Colubridae) from Gujarat, India. Check List 15(6): 1045-1050 - get paper here
  • Patel, Harshil; and Raju Vyas 2019. Reptiles of Gujarat, India: Updated Checklist, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Herpetology Notes 12: 765-777 - get paper here
  • Sclater,W.L. 1891. Notes on a collection of snakes in the Indian Museum, with descriptions of several new species. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal LX: 230-250 - get paper here
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • Sharma, Vivek and Maitry Jani. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Lycodon travancoricus (Travancore wolf snake). Herpetological Review 46 (4): 574 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Srinivasulu C., Das I. 2008. The Herpetofauna of Nallamala Hills, Eastern Ghats, India: an annotated checklist, with remarks on nomenclature, taxonomy, habitat use, adaptive types and biogeography. Asiatic Herpetological Research 11: 110–131 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1905. Notes on Snakes collected in Cannanore from 5th November 1903 to 5th August 1904. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 16: 292 - get paper here
  • Wall,F. 1919. Notes on a collection of Snakes made in the Nilgiri Hills and the adjacent Wynaad. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 26: 552-584 - 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.
  • Whitaker, Romulus and Ashok Captain 2004. Snakes of India. Draco Books, 500 pp., reprinted 2007 - get paper here
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