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Ahaetulla pulverulenta (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL, 1854)

IUCN Red List - Ahaetulla pulverulenta - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Brown-speckled Whipsnake 
SynonymDryinus pulverulentus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 812
Dryinus fuscus DUMÉRIL et al. 1854 (part)
Dryophis pulverulentus JAN 1863
Passerita purpurascens GÜNTHER 1864 (fide SMITH 1943)
Dryophis pulverulentus — BOULENGER 1890: 371
Dryophis pulverulentus — WALL 1921: 302
Dryophis pulverulentus — SMITH 1943: 378
Dryophis pulverulenta xanthiscutata DERANIYAGALA 1955
Dryophis pulverulenta indica DERANIYAGALA 1955
Ahaetulla pulverulentus — DAS 1996: 53
Ahaetulla pulverulentus — SHARMA 2004
Ahaetulla pulverulenta — WALLACH et al. 2014: 21
Ahaetulla pulverulenta — MALLIK et al. 2020 
DistributionSri Lanka

Type locality: Sri Lanka  
Reproductionovoviviparous (5-15 live offspring) 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 7565 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This is a species of usually grey-brown coloured Ahaetulla having an elongate multi-scaled rostral appendage and a rhomboid crown marking (vs. rostral scale not multi-scaled in all other Peninsular India Ahaetulla spp., except A. anomala and A. sahyadrensis nom. nov.); lacking white or yellow ventrolateral stripe (vs. present in all regional congeners except A. sahyadrensis nom. nov.); 8 pre-diastemal and 7 post-diastemal maxillary teeth (vs. 7 and 9 in A. isabellina comb. nov., 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. & 7 and 6 in A. sahyadrensis nom. nov. from India, dissected from BNHS 2010); differs from A. sahyadrensis nom. nov. of India in ventral scale counts 179–193 [182–186 in BNHS specimens] (vs. 182–203 [186–202 in our study] in A. sahyadrensis nom. nov.) and subcaudal scale counts 151–178 [158–159 in BNHS specimens] (vs. 169–208 [175–208 in our study] in A. sahyadrensis nom. nov.); lower posterior dorsal scale rows count 10–11 (vs. 12–13 in A. sahyadrensis nom. nov.) (Fig. 11 & 12, Table 2, Mallik et al. 2020: 22).

Description and Variation. Adult specimens very slender, partially laterally compressed body with a maximum snout to vent length 827 mm; tail length (253 mm for specimen of SVL 454 mm; other specimens with broken or damaged tails); ventrals 182–186 notched with keels; subcaudals 158–161 divided; cloacal scale divided; relatively long and slender tail; dorsal scale rows in 15-15-11 rows of smooth, obliquely disposed scales; head very distinct from neck, supralabials 8 (both left and right) with 5th & 6th supralabial being the largest, 5th in contact with the eye; 4th supralabial divided; infralabials 7 (both left and right);1st , 2nd, 3rd and 4th infralabials in contact with the anterior genials; 4th, 5th and 6th infralabials in contact with the posterior genials; mental scale wedged in between 1st pair of infralabials ; nasal 1 (both left and right); loreals absent; pre-subocular 1 (both left and right); pre-ocular 1 (both left and right); post-oculars 2; sub-oculars absent; temporal 2+3 (both left and right); prefrontal scale in contact with pre-oculars; preventrals 2; rostral appendage comprised of numerous smaller scales (Mallik et al. 2020: 22). 
CommentSynonymy: partly after WALLACH et al. 2014: 21, Mallik et la. 2020).

Diet: lizards and other vertebrates

Distribution: see map in Deepak e al. 2019: 499 (Fig. 1) and Mallik et al. 2020: 14 (Fig. 4). Reports from Gujarat are probably misidentifications of A. pulverulenta (Vyas, 1988, Patel & Vyas 2019). Mallik et al. 2020 restricted pulverulenta to Sri Lanka and assigned populations from S India to A. sahyadrensis, a similar and closely related species.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyFrom Latin, named after its ‘ashy’ or ‘dusty’ greyish brown colouration. 
References
  • Ahmad, Faysal, Shayer Mahmood Ibney Alam and Tania Khondakar. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Ahaetulla pulverulenta (brown vine snake). Herpetological Review 46 (4): 571 - get paper here
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