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Boiga beddomei (WALL, 1909)

IUCN Red List - Boiga beddomei - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Beddome's Cat Snake
G: Beddomes Nachtbaumnatter 
SynonymDipsadomorphus beddomei WALL 1909: 152
Dipsadomorphus beddomei — WALL 1921: 282
Boiga beddomei — TAYLOR 1950: 576
Boiga beddomei — DAS 1996: 54 (part.)
Boiga beddomei — WHITAKER & CAPTAIN 2004
Boiga beddomei — VYAS & DESAI 2010
Boiga beddomei — WALLACH et al. 2014: 101 (part.)
Boiga beddomei — PATEL et al. 2018
Boiga beddomei — GANESH et al. 2020 
DistributionIndia (Western Ghats: Maharashtra [Bhimashankar, Mulshi, Koyna, Vasota], Gujarat) (see Vyas & Desai 2010).

Type locality: Restricted to Matheran, Bombay Presidency (fide GANESH et al. 2020).

ranawanei: Sri Lanka; Type locality: Bulawaththa, Gannoruwa Forest, Kandy District, Central Province, Sri Lanka (07°17 16 N 80°35 36 E, elevation: 640 m elevation  
TypesLectotype: BMNH, an adult female from “Matheran”; collected by Dr. Leith, probably Andrew Henderson Leith (1848-1919) (fide GANESH et al. 2020).
Holotype: Male, SVL 649 mm, LCD (tail length from vent to tip) 250 mm; collected by V. A. M. P. K. Samarawickrama; 10/20/2004 [ranawanei] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of Boiga inhabiting the Western Ghats, defined by the following combination of characters: 19 midbody scale rows (vs. 21–23 in B. nuchalis, B. dightoni, B. andamanensis); predominantly yellowish-brown dorsum (vs. greenish in B. flaviviridis; variable in B. andamanensis); vertebrals strongly enlarged (vs. mildly enlarged in B. barnesii); crown unpatterned (vs. with blackish-brown blotches in B. thackerayi, brownish blotches in B. ceylonensis); subcaudals > 110 (vs. < 110 in B. ceylonensis, B. thackerayi); venter densely speckled with dark brown (vs. uniform in B. flaviviridis); ventrolateral region devoid of large white and black blotches (vs. present in B. thackerayi, B. barnesii), but has a series of spots on both tips of each ventral scale (vs. venter unpatterned in B. andamanensis, B. flaviviridis) (from Ganesh et al. 2020: 308).

Diagnosis (ranawanei): Medium sized, slender Boiga (SVL + LCD up to 899 and 1105 mm in males and females, respectively) with laterally compressed body. Scale rows oblique (number of dorsal scale rows at body: Sq1, 19, Sq2, 19, Sq3, 15 rows); number of ventrals, of male 259, females 249 – 255; number of subcaudals of male 129 pairs, females 114 –128 pairs; eight-eight supralabials, the third fourth and fifth supralabials entering the orbit; 12 – 12 infralabials; the rostral shield is not very large, slightly visible from above; two anterior temporals and three posterior temporals; two preoculars, reaching the upper surface of head; two postoculars; two nasals. Scales are smooth. Ventral shields have no conspicuous markings.

Coloration (ranawanei): The coloration of the back and head is yellowish-brown, consists of wide transverse dark brown bands which do not connect on the underside. Belly is pale yellow, noticeably lighter than dorsal surface with no markings. The color of the tail corresponds to the color of the body with the ventral surface being darker than the belly. On the lateral sides of the head pass two horizontal black stripes across the eyes. 
CommentSynonymy: Manamendra-Arachchi & Pethiyagoda (2007) considered B. ranawanei to be synonymous with B. beddomei. They created an objective synonymy between these two taxa by designating the holotype of B. ranawanei as the neotype of B. beddomei. However, Ganesh et al. 2020 located the original type series of B. beddomei (see also Vogel & Ganesh 2013), hence the neotype designation becomes invalid (fide, Art. 75.8 ICZN 1999). The status of ranawanei remains uncertain fide Ganesh et al. 2020.

Distribution: Previously believed to occur in Sri Lanka too. A recent taxonomic revision restricted the type locality of Boiga beddomei to the Western Ghats of India via, a lectotype designation (see GANESH et al. 2020).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after Richard Henry Beddome, 1830–1911, British army officer and botanist.

Etymology (ranawanei): The species has been named in honor of Dr. K. B. Ranawana, who is currently working extensively on various aspects of wild life ecology in Sri Lanka. 
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