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Uropeltis ocellata (BEDDOME, 1863)

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Higher TaxaUropeltidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ocellated Earth Snake, Ocellate Shieldtail 
SynonymSilybura ocellata BEDDOME 1863
Silybura ocellata — BEDDOME 1864: 178
Silybura ocellata — BEDDOME 1863 (redescription)
Silybura ochracea BEDDOME 1878
Silybura dupeni BEDDOME 1878
Silybura ochracea — BEDDOME 1886: 17
Silybura ocellata — BEDDOME 1886: 17
Silybura ocellata — BOULENGER 1893: 150
Uropeltis ocellatus — SMITH 1943
Uropeltis ocellata gansi RAJENDRAN 1979
Uropeltis ocellata krishnasami RAJENDRAN 1979
Uropeltis ocellatus — RAJENDRAN 1985: 85
Uropeltis ocellata — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 148
Uropeltis ocellatus — MURTHY 2010
Uropeltis ocellata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 766
Uropeltis ocellatus — DOST 2020 
DistributionS India (Western Ghats south of the Goa Gap; common in the Nilgiri and Anaimalai Hills, Kerala)

Type locality: „Walagbat on the Western slopes of the Neilgherries in the dense forests at an elevation of 3,500 feet", India.

Type locality: „Anamullnys, at Nelliamputty, 3000 feet, and at Ponachi, 4500 feet, and on the Bolumputty hills, 2000 feet". [Silybura ochracea BEDDOME]

Type locality: ,‚Anamullays at Nelliamputty, 3000 feet". [Silybura dupeni BEDDOME]  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.15.59 (designated by GANS 1966). Lectoparatypes: MNHN (= MHNP) 95.83—95.89. Syntypes: BMNH; BOULENGER’s catalogue (1893: 150) lists five syntypes for Silybura ochracea BEDDOME 1878. According to GANS (1966) there are now five bottles labelled „types" and that these contain ten specimens. The types are thus presumably included in BMNH 1946.1.2.30 — 1946.1.2.31 (Anamallays), 1946.1.15.43 — 1946.1.15.45 (Polghat Hills, Anamallays), 1946.1.15.69 — 1946.1.15.71 (Ponachi Hills), and 1946.1.15.85 — 1946.1.15.86 (Anamallays, 2,000 feet). See also Jins et al. 2018 for further type information.
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.1.42 (formerly [Silybura dupeni BEDDOME] 
DiagnosisDescription from BEDDOME (1864): “Rostral pointed and much produced; nasal scutella meeting behind the rostral, and separating it from the frontals; eye very small, obscure, in front of ocular shield; other shields and labials as in the genus; scales round the neck in 18 rows, round the trunk in 17; caudal disk not very clearly defined; scales 2-5-keeled; terminal shield entire, or slightly 2-3-pronged; abdominals 199; subcaudals 8 or 10 pairs, some generally entire. Total length 14.5 inches. Colour of the body of the male yellowish, becoming gradually brown near the head and tail, of the female dull brownish, of the young dark purplish brown; all banded with transverse rows of four or five black-edged white or yellow spots (like eyes), generally rather irregularly placed. Sides of the belly with transverse, very irregular shaped, yellow or white blotches, rarely meeting over the abdominals, and forming a transverse band.” 
CommentSubspecies: the two subspecies described by RAJENDRAN 1979, Uropeltis ocellata gansi, and U. o. krishnasami, are hardly ever mentioned in the literature (e.g. by Pyron et al. 2016). Given that they are not even mentioned by RAJENDRAN 1985 we consider them as synonyms of U. ocellata for the time being. 
  • Beddome, R.H. 1864. Description of new species of the family Uropeltidae from Southern India, with notes on other little-known species. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 13: 177-180 - get paper here
  • Beddome, R.H. 1878. Description of six new species of snakes of the genus Silybura, family Uropeltidae. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1878: 800-802. - get paper here
  • Beddome, R.H. 1886. An account of the earth snakes of the Peninsula of India and Ceylon. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5) 17: 3-33. - 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]
  • Beddome, RICHARD HENRY 1863. Descriptions of new species of the family Uropeltidae from Southern India, with notes on other little-known species. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1863: 225-229. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Dost, O. 2020. Die Western Ghats - Biodiversitäts-Hotspot und Froschparadies in Indien. Elaphe 2020 (2): 14-23
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • JINS, V.J.; FILIPA L. SAMPAIO, DAVID J. GOWER 2018. A new species of Uropeltis Cuvier, 1829 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the Anaikatty Hills of the Western Ghats of India. Zootaxa 4415 (3): 401–422 - get paper here
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
  • Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
  • Pyron R. A., Ganesh S. R., Sayyed A., Sharma V., Wallach V. & Somaweera R. 2016. A catalogue and systematic overview of the shield-tailed snakes (Serpentes: Uropeltidae). [type catalogue] Zoosystema 38 (4): 453-506 - get paper here
  • Rajendran M V 1979. Uropeltis ocellatus Beddome: morphology, ecology and distribution. Recording two subspecies U. ocellatus gansi and U. ocellatus krishnasami. JOURNAL OF MADURAI KAMARAJ UNIVERSITY SERIES B SCIENCES 8 (1): 97-99
  • Rajendran, M. 1985. Studies in Uropeltid Snakes. Madurai University Press, Madurai.
  • 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.
  • Wall, F. 1918. A Popular Treatise on the Common Indian Snakes. Part XXV. Callophis macclellandi and Silybura occellata (With Plate XXV and Diagram.). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 25: 628-635 - 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.
  • Williams, Ernest E. 1959. The occipito-vertebral joint in the burrowing snakes of the family Uropeltidae. Breviora (106): 1-10 - get paper here
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