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Uropeltis pulneyensis (BEDDOME, 1863)

IUCN Red List - Uropeltis pulneyensis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaUropeltidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Indian Earth Snake, Palni Shieldtail 
SynonymPlectrurus pulneyensis BEDDOME 1863
Plectrurus pulneyensis BEDDOME 1864: 180
Rhinophis pulneyensis — GÜNTHER 1864: 187
Plectrurus pulneyensis — BEDDOME 1866
Silybura guentheri BEDDOME 1878
Silybura Güntheri — BEDDOME 1886: 23
Silybura pulneyensis — BEDDOME 1886: 23
Silybura pulneyensis — BOULENGER 1893: 147
Uropeltis pulneyensis — SMITH 1943
Uropeltis pulneyensis — RAJENDRAN 1985: 88
Uropeltis pulneyensis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 149
Uropeltis pulneyensis — MURTHY 2010
Uropeltis pulneyensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 781 
DistributionS India (Palni and Travancore hills, Madura district, 5,000—7,000 feet, Kerala, Tamil Nadu).

Type locality: ,,Pulneys at an elevation of 7,000 to 8,000 feet". [Plectrurus pulneyensis BEDDOME]

Type locality: ,,High Wavy‘ mountain, Madura district, 5000 feet elevation". [Silybura guentheri BEDDOME]  
TypesSyntypes: ZSI 4381, ZSI 6948, ZSI 6950, ZSI 6972–75
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.16.74 (formerly [Silybura guentheri BEDDOME]
Syntypes: BMNH 1946.1.17.6; MNHN (= MHNP) 95.78 [Plectrurus pulneyensis BEDDOME] 
DiagnosisDescription after BEDDOME (1864: 180): “Rostral rather obtuse, produced back between the nasals, and touching the frontals, nasals not meeting; eye small, in front of the ocular shield; no supraorbitals; vertical 6-sided; occipitals rounded behind; 4 upper labials. Scales round the neck 19, round the body 17; subcaudals, male, about 12, female 6-8. Tail compressed, ending in a small spinose keel, more or less bicuspid. Scales of the tail all smooth. Colour uniform earthy brown; a lateral bright yellow streak from the labials continued on each side of the trunk, about 1 inch or 1_ inch in length; a few minute yellow specks on the back; belly with broad bright yellow transverse bands, very irregular as to number and shape; yellow markings about the vent and tail.”

After BEDDOME (1864: 180), pulneyensis and wynandensis “...differ from the typical form of this genus in their much smaller size and in the absence of a supraorbital shield. As, however, they have the same compressed tail, I prefer keeping them in this genus to making a new genus for them.” 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • 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. 1866. Notes upon the snakes of the Madras Presidency. Description and plate of a new species of snake of the family Uropeltidae from the Pulney Mountains. Madras Quart. J. Med. Sci., 9: 207-208 (228?). [Reprint: J. Soc. Bibliogr. Nat. Sci., London, 1 10: 314, 1940]
  • 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. 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
  • 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, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - 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. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - 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.
  • Melvinselvan, Gnanaselvan; Das Nibedita 2016. Defensive Caudal Display in Uropeltis pulneyensis Beddome 1863 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from Palani Hills, Western Ghats, India. Russ. J. Herpetol. 23 (1): 77-80
  • 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. 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.
  • 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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