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Uropeltis shorttii (BEDDOME, 1863)

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Higher TaxaUropeltidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Shevaroy HilIs Earth Snake 
SynonymSilybura shorttii BEDDOME 1863
Silybura shortii — BEDDOME 1864: 177
Silybura shortii — BEDDOME 1863 (redescription)
Silybura nilgherriensis shortii – BEDDOME 1886: 15
Silybura brevis — BOULENGER 1893: 158 (part.)
Uropeltis ceylanicus — SMITH 1943 (part.)
Uropeltis ceylanicus shorrti — MURTHY 1990: 15 (in error)
Uropeltis shorttii — GANESH et al. 2014 
DistributionS India (Tamil Nadu, Eastern Ghats, currently known only from Shevaroy Hills).

Type locality: ,,the Shevaroys [Shevaroy HilIs], 4,500 feet elevation", S India.  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH RR 1946.1.15.91— RR 1946.1.15.94; MNHN (= MHNP) 95.100. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Uropeltis shorttii is diagnosed by the following combination of characters: tail shield with clearly defined, thickened, circumscribed disc; part of rostral visible from above not distinctly longer than its distance from frontal; rostral not fully separating nasals, shorter than rostral scale; dorsum dark blackish-brown with distinct yellow crossbars or annuli all over the body; ventrals 141–156 (148.5±10.06); venter with alternate rhomboidal large yellow and black spots or blotches, the two colours of equal intensities [GANESH et al. 2014]. 
CommentSynonymy: Uropeltis shortii has been previously synonymized with U. ceylanica (e.g. by WALLACH et al. 2014: 779) but revalidated by GANESH et al. 2014.

Distribution: Populations from Anaimalais in the Western Ghats, assigned to U. shorttii (see BEDDOME, 1886) are of uncertain status and need re-evaluation (GANESH et al. 2014). “BEDDOME‘s specimen, said to have come from Ganjam district, is probably incorrectly labelled as regards locality” (fide SMITH 1943). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet shorttii is a patronym, honouring its collector Dr. John Shortt, a medical physician with the then Madras Army (Playne et al. 1915), who donated the type specimens to Col. R.H. Beddome (see Beddome 1863a). 
  • 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. 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
  • Ganesh, S. R.; M. Arumugam 2016. Species Richness of Montane Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India: A Historical Resume and a Descriptive Checklist. Russ. J. Herpetol. 23 (1): 7-24 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R.; R. Aengals & Eric Ramanujam 2014. Taxonomic reassessment of two Indian shieldtail snakes in the Uropeltis ceylanicus species group (Reptilia: Uropeltidae). Journal of Threatened Taxa 6 (1): 5305-5314 - get paper here
  • Gower, D.J.; Captain, A. & Thakur, S.S. 2008. On the taxonomic status of Uropeltis bicatenata (GÜNTHER) (Reptilia: Serpentes: Uropeltidae). Hamadryad 33 (1): 64 – 82
  • Gray,J.E. 1858. On a new genus and several new species of Uropeltidae in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 2: 376-381 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Günther, ALBERT 1862. On new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 9: 52-67. - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1865. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 9. Livraison. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris [1864] - 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.
  • Mirza, Z.A. & Pal, S. 2010. Über eine Schlange aus der Gattung Uropeltis (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) aus den Western Ghats von Maharashtra, Indien. Sauria 32 (3): 47-52 - 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
  • Sclater,W.L. 1891. Notes on a collection of snakes in the Indian Museum, with descriptions of several new species. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal LX: 230-250 - 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.
  • Underwood, G. 2002. On the rictal structures of some snakes. Herpetologica 58 (1): 1-17 - get paper here
  • 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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