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Boiga nuchalis (GÜNTHER, 1875)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Collared Catsnake 
SynonymDipsas nuchalis GÜNTHER 1875: 233
Dipsadomorphus nuchalis — WALL 1900
Dipsadomorphus nuchalis — WALL 1909: 153
Boiga ceylonensis dakhunensis DERANIYAGALA 1955 (fide GANESH et al. 2020)
Boiga nuchalis — DAS 1996: 54
Boiga nuchalis — GROEN 2008
Boiga nuchalis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 106
Boiga nuchalis — GANESH et al. 2020 
DistributionSW India (Western Ghats: Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Eastern Ghats: Tamil Nadu), Nepal

Type locality: "forests on the western coast of Malabar, Southern India." [Kerala, SW India].  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1874.4.29.933-1874.4.29.937, four males, largest is 1118 mm, one subadult (R.H. Beddome). Types not listed in BMNH catalogue fide Lang, pers. comm. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of Boiga endemic to southwestern India, characterised by the following combination of characters: 21–23 midbody scale rows (vs. 19 in B. ceylonensis, B. thackerayi, B. beddomei, B. flaviviridis); vertebral scales strongly enlarged (vs. mildly enlarged in B. barnesii); venter brownish-grey and not yellowish in life (vs. yellowish-brown in B. thackerayi, B. flaviviridis; variable in B. andamanensis; dorsum predominantly brown (vs. green in B. flaviviridis; variable in B. andamanensis); bars brown or reddish-brown (vs. bars black in B. thackerayi, B. beddomei); ventrolateral pattern with a series of spots on both tips of each ventral scale (vs. with alternate white and black blotches in B. barnesii, B. thackerayi; without any pattern in B. andamanensis, B. flaviviridis); temporal larger than coastal body scale (vs. subequal to coastal body scale in B. dightoni) (from Ganesh et al. 2020). 
CommentDistribution: Reports from Nepal may represent B. ochracea (G. Vogel, pers. comm. 24. Sep. 2013). Possibly in Bhutan (fide Lenz 2012), but unlikely to occur there.

Synonymy: SMITH 1943 considered Dipsas nuchalis GÜNTHER 1875 as a synonym of C. ceylonensis.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after its typical collar band on the nuchal region. 
  • 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
  • Blackburn, D.G. 1993. STANDARDIZED CRITERIA FOR THE RECOGNITION OF REPRODUCTIVE MODES IN SQUAMATE REPTILES. Herpetologica 49 (1): 118-132 - 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.; 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.; N.S. ACHYUTHAN, S.R. CHANDRAMOULI & GERNOT VOGEL, 2020. Taxonomic revision of the Boiga ceylonensis group (Serpentes: Colubridae): re-examination of type specimens, redefinition of nominate taxa and an updated key. Zootaxa 4779 (3): 301–332 - 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
  • Groen,J. 2008. Het Boiga-genus. Lacerta 66 (1-3): 64-79 - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1875. Second report on collections of Indian Reptiles obtained bv the British Museum. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1875: 224-234 - 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
  • 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
  • Kästle , W., Rai, K. & Schleich, H.H. 2013. FIELD GUIDE to Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal. ARCO-Nepal e.V., 625 pp. - get paper here
  • Lenz, Norbert 2012. Von Schmetterlingen und Donnerdrachen - Natur und Kultur in Bhutan. Karlsruher Naturhefte 4, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, 124 pp.
  • Orlov, Nikolai L. and Sergei A. Ryabov 2002. A new species of the genus Boiga (Serpentes, Colubridae, Colubrinae) from Tanahjampea Island and description of "black form" of Boiga cynodon Complex from Sumatra (Indonesia). Russ. J. Herpetol. 9 (1): 33-56 - 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
  • Shah, K. B. 1998. Checklist of the herpetofauna of Nepal with english and vernacular names. NAHSON Bull., Nat. Hist. Soc. Nepal, Kathmandu 8 (1-4): 26-30
  • VOGEL, GERNOT & S.R. GANESH 2013. A new species of cat snake (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae: Boiga) from dry forests of eastern Peninsular India. Zootaxa 3637 (2): 158–168 - get paper here
  • Wall,F. 1909. Remarks on some forms of Dipsadomorphus. Records of the Indian Museum 3: 151-155 - 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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