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Lycodon tristrigatus (GÜNTHER, 1858)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymDryocalamus tristrigatus GÜNTHER 1858
Dryocalamus tristrigatus — BOULENGER 1893: 372
Dryocalamus tristrigatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 249
Lycodon tristrigatus — FIGUEROA et al. 2016 
DistributionSouth-East Asia, Sunda region,
Indonesia: Natuna Islands and Borneo (Sabah, Sarawak).

Type locality: Unknown (WALLACH et al. 2014)  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.13.78 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (Dryocalamus): Members of the genus Dryocalamus are distinct from those of Lycodon sensu Figueroa et al. (2016) by having broad and keeled ventrals which are raised on the sides (vs. smooth, lacking a keel, with the sides only slightly raised or not at all, including in L. aulicus, the type species of Lycodon). The combination of the following morphological characters too, clearly distinguishes Dryocalamus from Lycodon s.s.: head oval, wider than body, depressed (vs. elongate, depressed); body slender, with an even girth throughout (vs. elongate, cylindrical); costal scales at midbody 13–15 (vs. 17 or more) (de Silva 1980), and we have also observed that members of Dryocalamus have eyes clearly protruding from head profile in dorsal aspect (vs. not protruding) (Wickramasinghe et al. 2020). 
CommentType species: Dryocalamus tristrigatus GÜNTHER 1858 is the type species of the genus Dryocalamus GÜNTHER 1858.

Synonymy: Figueroa et al. 2016 synonymized Dryocalamus with Lycodon. Dryocalamus is nested within Lycodon (also see the pylogenetic tree in Wostl et al. 2017), hence the Philippine Lycodon must be moved to a new genus or Dryocalamus synonymized with Lycodon. Although Wickramasinghe et al. 2020 argued that Dryocalamus should remain, citing Zaher et al. 2019, the latter authors confirmed that Dryocalamus nests within Lycodon.

Diet: Dryocalamus exhibit a unique feeding behavior, their diet consisting exclusively of eggs, in which it consumes only the egg embryo, omitting the egg shell (Melvinselvan et al. 2018), whereas Lycodon consumes whole eggs and also small reptiles.

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018) while most of Lycodon species are terrestrial. 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Das, I. 2012. A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of South-East Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford J, ohn Beaufoy Publishing - get paper here
  • Figueroa A, McKelvy AD, Grismer LL, Bell CD, Lailvaux SP 2016. A Species-Level Phylogeny of Extant Snakes with Description of a New Colubrid Subfamily and Genus. PLoS One 11 (9): e0161070.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161070 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1858. Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • 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
  • Hofmann, Jörg 2015. Im Norden Sarawaks. Ein Expeditionsbericht. Terraria-Elaphe 2015 (2): 19-31 - get paper here
  • Janssen HY, Pham CT, Ngo HT, Le MD, Nguyen TQ, Ziegler T 2019. A new species of Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes, Colubridae) from northern Vietnam. ZooKeys 875: 1-29 - get paper here
  • Stuebing, R.B. & INGER, R.F. 1999. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo. Natural history Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu, 254 pp. [corrections in HR 31: 124]. - get paper here
  • Stuebing, R.B., Inger, R.F. & Lardner, B. 2014. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo, second edition. Natural history Publications (Borneo)
  • 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.
  • WOSTL, ELIJAH; AMIR HAMIDY, NIA KURNIAWAN, ERIC N. SMITH 2017. A new species of Wolf Snake of the genus Lycodon H. Boie in Fitzinger (Squamata: Colubridae) from the Aceh Province of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Zootaxa 4276 (4): 539–553 - get paper here
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