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Ahaetulla perroteti (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL, 1854)

IUCN Red List - Ahaetulla perroteti - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Western Ghats Bronzeback 
SynonymPsammophis Perroteti DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 899
Leptophis canarensis JERDON 1854
Dryophis tropidococcyx GÜNTHER 1858: 157
Psammophis perroteti — GÜNTHER 1860: 428
Tropidococcyx perroteti — THEOBALD 1868
Dryophis perroteti — BOULENGER 1890: 868
Dryophis perroteti — SMITH 1943: 373
Ahaetulla perroteti — SVAGE 1952
Ahaetulla perroteti — DAS 1996: 53
Ahaetulla perroteti — WALLACH et al. 2014: 20
Ahaetulla perroteti — MALLIK et al. 2020: 45 
DistributionIndia (Western Ghats, Kerala, Tamil Nadu ?), elelvation 1980 m to 2300 m

Type locality: “Indes-Orientales” [= East Indies, including India].  
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 1208, longest syntype 500 mm (G.S. Perrotet, 1822–1832), 5 specimens, location of other syntypes unknown.
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.9.80-81 [tropidococcyx] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: It is morphologically separated from most other Indian species by the absence of rostral appendage (vs. present in all Indian congeners except A. dispar, A. travancorica sp. nov.). It differes from the latter species by a lower number (65–86) of subcaudal shields (vs. 103–125 in A. dispar and 130 in Ahaetulla travancorica sp. nov.) and complete absence of loreal scales on either side of the head (vs. 0–1 loreals in A. dispar and 2 in Ahaetulla travancorica sp. nov.) (Fig. 24, Mallik et al. 2020).

Colouration in life. Dorsum bright to darker shades of green (in males) to dark brown to olive (in females); supralabials light green to bronzed, distinct and separated by a weak pre-ocular stripe that extends till the end of the jaw angle; body darker than the head; venter with light green to dirty white central strip bordered with lighter stripes ventrolaterally; eyes golden with numerous black speckles that are highest in concentration towards the ends of the pupil, pupil distinct from the rest of the eye with a light yellow halo around the pupil (also see Ganesh & Chandramouli 2011, Mallik et al. 2020).

Variations (also see Wall 1919; Smith 1943; Whitaker & Captain 2004; Ganesh & Chandramouli 2011). Ventrals 140–149 notched with weak keels (136–146 in Smith 1943); subcaudals 70–84 divided (65–86 in Smith 1943, Mallik et al. 2020). 
CommentMildly venomous but usually harmless for humans.

Synonymy: partly after Mallik et al. 2020.

Distribution: Reports from Myanmar are probably erroneous (MCDOWELL & JENNER 1988). See map in Mallik et al. 2020: 14 (Fig. 4).

Habitat: In contrast to most other members of the genus, A. perroteti is predominantly terrestrial to semi-arboreal, inhabiting the montane grasslands and the shola forest mosaic of the Upper Nilgiris (Mallik et al. 2020). 
EtymologyNamed after George Samuel Perrottet (1790–1870) a French botanist, who also worked on the natural history of Indian biota. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • 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. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 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
  • Duméril, A. M. C., Bibron, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R. and S.R. Chandramouli 2011. On the nomenclature and taxonomy of the south Indian colubrid snake Ahaetulla perroteti (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854). Herpetological Bulletin (117) - 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
  • Günther, A. 1858. Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • Günther,A. 1860. Note on Psammophis perroteti. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 6: 428-429 - 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
  • Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
  • Princy, J. Leona; P. Kannan, P. Santhosh Kumar & A. Samson 2017. Predation of Raorchestes tinniens by Ahaetulla perroteti in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India. Zoo’s Print 32: 15-18 - get paper here
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • 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.
  • Theobald, William 1868. Catalogue of the reptiles of British Birma, embracing the provinces of Pegu, Martaban, and Tenasserim; with descriptions of new or little-known species. Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 10: 4-67. - get paper here
  • Theobald, WILLIAM 1868. Catalogue of reptiles in the Museum of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. J. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, Calcutta, 37 (extra number 146): (2), vi, 7-88 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1906. A Popular Treatise on the Common Indian Snakes. Part II. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 17: 1-17 - 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.
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