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Dendrelaphis andamanensis (ANDERSON, 1871)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Andaman Bronze-back
G: Andamanen-Bronzenatter 
SynonymDendrophis picta var. andamanensis ANDERSON 1871: 184
Dendrophis boiga andamanensis — STEJNEGER 1933
Ahaetulla ahaetulla andamanensis — SMITH 1943:244.
Dendrelaphis andamanensis — VOGEL & VAN ROOIJEN 2011
Dendrelaphis andamanensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 215 
DistributionIndia (Andaman Islands)

Type Locality: ‘‘Andamans’’  
TypesHolotype: ZSI (ZSIC) 7714 (Das et al., 1998). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Dendrelaphis, characterized by the combination of (1) vertebral scales strongly enlarged, larger than the dorsals of the first row; (2) 176–196 ventrals; (3) 125– 146 divided subcaudals; (4) 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody; (5) anal shield divided; (6) one loreal scale; (7) two supralabials touching the eye; (8) a short first sublabial that usually touches two infralabials (five infralabials on one side in one specimen); (9) 11–16 temporal scales; (10) two to three postoculars; (11) maximum total length 120.0 cm; (12) Rel TAIL 0.30–0.34; (13) a narrow temporal stripe that starts before the eye, covers only the lower edge of the temporal region and does not extend onto the neck; (14) the absence of a light ventrolateral stripe; (15) a bright grass-green coloration in living specimens (Fig. 5) as opposed to the brown/blue coloration in D. cyanochloris.
CommentDistribution: D. andamanensis has been erroneously reported from the Great Nicobar Islands (Biswas and Sanyal, 1977) which actually originated from the Andamans (Vijayakumar and David, 2006). As a result, Das (1999) considered D. pictus var. andamanensis to be an erroneous report for Andaman’s fauna while considering D. cyanochloris to be an inhabitant of the Andamans.

Similar species: Dendrelaphis pictus var. andamanensis has been wrongly identified as Dendrelaphis cyanochloris in the literature (e.g., Cox et al., 1998; Das, 2002; Whitaker and Captain, 2004). However, D. andamanensis cannot be confused with D. pictus because of its bright green coloration and absence of a ventrolateral line. The picture in Whitaker and Captain (2004: 177) titled Dendrelaphis pictus andamanensis is in fact Dendrelaphis humayuni, Tiwari and Biswas, 1973.

Behavior: diurnal

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018) 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Anderson, J. 1871. On some Indian reptiles. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1871: 149-211 - get paper here
  • Biswas,S. & SANYAL,D.P. 1977. Notes on the Reptilia collection from the Great Nicobar during the Great Nicobar Expedition in 1966. Records Zool. Survey India 72: 107-12 - 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
  • Chakravarty, Rohit and Saw Isaac. 2014. Beobachtungen an Gonyosoma oxycephalum (Boie, 1827) beim erbeuten von Höhlenfledertieren auf den Andamanen, Indien. Sauria 36 (2): 55-58 - get paper here
  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
  • 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
  • Stejneger, Leonhard 1933. The ophidian generic names Ahaetulla and Dendrophis. Copeia 1933 (4): 199-203 - get paper here
  • VAZIFDAR, NARIMAN; MONOWAE ALAM KHALID & KAUSHIK LAHON. 2021. Attempted predation of an Andaman Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis andamanensis) by an Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) on Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Reptiles & Amphibians 28(3): 535–536. - get paper here
  • Vijayakumar, S. P. and Patrick David 2006. Taxonomy, Natural History, and Distribution of the Snakes of the Nicobar Islands (INDIA), based on new materials and with an Emphasis on endemic species. Russ. J. Herpetol. 13 (1): 11 – 40
  • Vogel, Gernot 2014. Die Andamanen – Ein wenig bekanntes Tierparadies. Terraria-Elaphe 2014 (6): 44-55 - get paper here
  • Vogel, Gernot and Johan van Rooijen 2011. Contributions to a Review of the Dendrelaphis pictus (Gmelin, 1789) Complex (Serpentes: Colubridae)—3. The Indian Forms, with the Description of a New Species from the Western Ghats. Journal of Herpetology 45 (1): 100-110. - 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.
  • Whitaker, Romulus and Ashok Captain 2004. Snakes of India. Draco Books, 500 pp., reprinted 2007 - get paper here
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