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Liopeltis calamaria (GÜNTHER, 1858)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Calamaria Reed Snake
G: Calamaria-Halsbandnatter 
SynonymCyclophis calamaria GÜNTHER 1858
Cyclophis calamaria — GÜNTHER 1859: 231
Homalosoma baliolum JAN 1862 (fide SMITH 1943)
Cyclophis nasalis GÜNTHER 1864 (fide SMITH 1943)
Cyclophia calamaria (sic)— PHIPSON 1888
Ablabes calamaria — BOULENGER 1890
Liopeltis calamaria — WALL 1921: 251
Liopeltis calamaria — SMITH 1943: 184
Opheodrys calamaria — CONSTABLE 1949
Liopeltis calamaria indica DERANIYAGALA 1955
L. calamaria indicus (sic) — DERANIYAGALA 1955
Liopeltis calamaria — DAS 1996: 57
Liopeltis calamaria — KARUNARATHNA & AMARASINGHE 2011
Liopeltis calamarius — WALLACH et al. 2014: 385
Liopeltis calamaria — AMARASINGHE et al. 2020 
DistributionSri Lanka, India (Kerala, Tamil Nadu), Nepal (Chitwan)

Type locality: Ceylon

indica: India (Kerala); Type locality: Waynad (=Wayanad), Kerala, India  
TypesSyntypes:. BMNH 1946.1.5.60 (adult male) and BMNH 1946.1.21.64 (subadult male)
Lectotype: BMNH 1922.5.25.22 (male), designated by Amarasinghe et al. 2020. Paralectotypes. ZSI 18608 (male) [indica] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Liopeltis calamaria can be separated from its congeners by the following combination of morphological characters: 130–136 ventrals in males; 66–76 subcaudals in males; longer snout, ED 60.6–65.5% of ES; no loreal; single nasal shield; dorsal scales in 15-15-15 rows, all smooth; single preocular, 2 postoculars and 1+2 temporals; 7 supralabials, of which 3rd and 4th in contact with the eye; 7 infralabials; nasal contacting internasal and prefrontal; prefrontal separated from supralabials by the preocular and the nasal; subcaudal scales paired, and dorsally light brown, greenish-brown or olive green coloration (from Amarasinghe et al. 2020: 41).

Coloration: In life (based on live specimens, not collected), dorsally light brown, greenish-brown or olive green; the dorsal scales (5–6 rows above the ventrals) edged with black colour creating paired longitudinal lines on each side of the vertebral column, which break into spots anteriorly and continue well onto the tail; the area between these two lines is sometimes darker in colour; another less distinct line runs along the confines of the 3rd–4th rows; a series of black spots occur on each side of the head; ventral side pale yellow or cream. The black line is more prominent among juveniles than adults (Fig. 1); an ill-defined but distinct dark patch can be seen on the parietal region. Also, some juveniles exhibit lateral white linear stripes that begin on the neck and finish at the level of vent (Amarasinghe et al. 2020: 42). 
CommentDistribution: Possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012). See map in Amarasinghe et al. 2020: Fig. 4.

Photos: The photos of L. calamaria shown here may be mis-identified and assigned to another species (Amarasinghe et al 2020, and A.A. Amarasinghe, pers. comm., 12 June 2020). 
  • Amarasinghe, A.A.T. et al. 2020. Taxonomy and distribution of Liopeltis calamaria (Günther, 1858) (Reptilia: Colubridae), including redescription of the syntypes. TAPROBANICA 9 (1): 39-49 - get paper here
  • Beddome, RICHARD HENRY 1863. Further notes upon the snakes of the Madras Presidency; with descriptions of new species. Madras Quart. J. Med. Sci., 6: 41-48 [Reprint: J. Soc. Bibliogr. Nat. Sci., London, 1 (10): 306-314, 1940]
  • Bhattarai S., Gurung A., Lamichhane BR., Regmi R., Dhungana M., Kumpakha B. and Subedi N. 2020. Amphibians and Reptiles of Chure Range, Nepal. President Chure Terai-Madhesh Conservation Development Board and National Trust for Nature Conservation, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Nepal
  • Bhattarai, Santosh, Chalise, Lina, Gurung, Ashish, Pokheral, Chiranjibi Pd, Subedi, Naresh and Sharma, Vivek 2017. Geographic Distribution: Liopeltis calamaria (Lined Stripe-necked Snake). Herpetological Review 48 (1): 129 - 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, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - 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.; 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. 1859. On the geographical distribution of reptiles. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 3: 221-237 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1865. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 13. Livraison. [Homalosoma mite]. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • Karunarathna, D. M. S. SURANJAN & W. P. NAALIN PERERA 2010. New Distribution Records for Liopeltis calamaria (Günther, 1858) (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae), with Notes on its Bioecology and Threats in Sri Lanka. [in German]. Sauria 32 (2): 49-55 - get paper here
  • Karunarathna, Suranjan D. M. S. and A. A. Thasun Amarasinghe 2011. A PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF THE REPTILE FAUNA IN NILGALA FOREST AND ITS VICINITY, MONARAGALA DISTRICT, SRI LANKA. Taprobanica 3 (2): 69-76 - get paper here
  • Lenz, Norbert 2012. Von Schmetterlingen und Donnerdrachen - Natur und Kultur in Bhutan. Karlsruher Naturhefte 4, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, 124 pp.
  • Narayanan, Surya 2016. On the occurrence of the Calamaria Reed Snake Liopeltis calamaria (Günther, 1858) (Squamata: Colubridae), in the Kalakadu Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, India. Reptile RAP (18): 29–30 - 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
  • Poyarkov Jr, Nikolay A.; Tan Van Nguyen & Gernot Vogel 2019. A new species of the genus Liopeltis Fitzinger, 1843 from Vietnam (Squamata: Colubridae). Journal of Natural History, 53:27-28, 1647-1672 - 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.
  • Taylor, Edward H. 1950. The snakes of Ceylon. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 33 (14): 519-603 - get paper here
  • Wall, FRANK 1921. Ophidia Taprobanica or the Snakes of Ceylon. Colombo Mus. (H. R. Cottle, govt. printer), Colombo. xxii, 581 pages - 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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