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Ahaetulla isabellina (WALL, 1910)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymDryophis mycterizans isabellinus WALL 1910: 229, 524
Ahaetulla nasutus — MALHOTRA & DAVIS 1991: 159
Ahaetulla nasuta isabellina — DEEPAK et al. 2019
Ahaetulla isabellina — MALLIK et al. 2020: 27 
DistributionIndia (S Karnataka)

Type locality: Paralai, Valparai (10.335 N, 76.952 E, 1100 msl; original type locality); neotype locality: Oru Komban hills (10.4077 N, 76.7177 E, 1077 msl), in Parambikulam plateau of Anaimalai Hill complex, Southern Western Ghats, Peninsular India. The neotype locality (Parambikulam) is close (< 30 km) to the original type locality.  
Reproduction 
TypesNeotype: BNHS 3584 (ex. CESS182), designated by Mallik et al. 2020 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Ahaetulla having short rostral appendage (vs. long in A. oxyrhyncha comb. nov.; A. anomala, A. laudankia), possessing a white ventrolateral stripe (vs. absent in A. pulverulenta, A. sahyadrensis nom. nov.); absence of a loreal scale (vs. present in A. dispar and A. travancorica sp. nov.); 7 pre-diastemal and 9 post-diastemal maxillary teeth (vs. 6 and 7 in A. malabarica sp. nov., vs. 6 and 11 in A. farnsworthi sp. nov.,vs. 6 and 8 in A. borealis sp. nov., vs. 7 and 7 in A. oxyrhyncha comb. nov.); we have not found any further morphological difference from other closely related lineages (A. malabarica sp. nov., A. farnsworthi sp. nov., and A. borealis sp. nov.) (Fig. 3 & 13, Table 2, Mallik et al. 2020: 28).

Colour in life. Body uniform bright green; infralabials and venter yellowish-green to light green at mid body; yellow ventral stripe along notched ventral keels; slight discolouration in the pre-ocular; inter-scalar skin patterned with black and white anteriorly-converging bars revealing when threatened; hindbody inter-scalar skin reddish instead of white; golden yellow eyes with black speckles; concentration of black speckles both in the anterior and posterior ends of a horizontal pupil and a slight discolouration around the pupil; tail and subcaudals green (Mallik et al. 2020: 28)

Original Description: The original description states the colour of this new nominate subspecies to be “uniformly buff or khaki above and a similar colour only of a lighter shade on the belly between the two lateral stripes and ventrals and subcaudals were 168+136.” When Wall (1910) erected this nomen, his intent to diagnose this variety from the nominotypical, i.e., green ones, was its brownish dorsal colour. He had described it along with other new “brownish” varieties of what was then known as Dryophis mycterizans (Mallik et al. 2020: 27). 
CommentDiet: lizards and other vertebrates (by implication)

Synonymy: SMITH 1943 synonymized Dryophis mycterizans isabellinus with A. nasuta but the former was revalidated by Mallik et al. 2020.

Distribution: See map in Mallik et al. 2020: 14 (Fig. 4).

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018, by implication). 
EtymologyNamed in allusion to the isabelline yellow colouration of the dorsal body of the original name-bearing type in live condition (see Wall 1910). 
References
  • Deepak, V., Narayanan, S., Sarkar, V., Dutta, S. K. & Mohapatra, P. P. 2019. A new species of Ahaetulla Link, 1807 (Serpentes: Colubridae: Ahaetullinae) from India. J. Nat. Hist. 53: 497–516 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • MALLIK, A. K., SRIKANTHAN, A. N., PAL, S. P., D’SOUZA, P. M., SHANKER, K., & GANESH, S. R. 2020. Disentangling vines: a study of morphological crypsis and genetic divergence in vine snakes (Squamata: Colubridae: Ahaetulla) with the description of five new species from Peninsular India. Zootaxa 4874 (1): 1-62 - 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.
  • Wall,F. 1910. Remarks on the varieties and distribution of the common Green Whip Snake (Dryophis mycterizans). J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 20: 229 - get paper here
 
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