Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


Forgotten records of Chrysopelea taprobanica Smith, 1943 (Squamata: Colubridae) from India



The colubrid snake Chrysopelea taprobanica Smith, 1943 was described from a holotype from Kanthali (= Kantalai) and paratypes from Kurunegala, both localities in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) (Smith 1943). Since its description, literature pertaining to Sri Lankan snake fauna considered this taxon to be endemic to the island (Taylor 1950, Deraniyagala 1955, de Silva 1980, de Silva 1990, Somaweera 2004, Somaweera 2006, de Silva 2009, Pyron et al. 2013). In addition, earlier efforts on the Indian peninsula (e.g. Das 1994, 1997, Das 2003, Whitaker & Captain 2004, Aengals et al. 2012) and global data compilations (e.g. Wallach et al. 2014, Uetz & Hošek 2015) did not identify any record from mainland India until Guptha et al. (2015) recorded a specimen (voucher BLT 076 housed at Bio-Lab of Seshachalam Hills, Tirupathi, India) in the dry deciduous forest of Chamala, Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve in Andhra Pradesh, India in November 2013. Guptha et al. (2015) further mentioned an individual previously photographed in 2000 at Rishi Valley, Andhra Pradesh, but with no voucher specimen collected. Guptha’s record, assumed to be the first confirmed record of C. taprobanica in India, is noteworthy as it results in a large range extension, from northern Sri Lanka to eastern India with an Euclidean distance of over 400 km, as well as a change of status, i.e., species not endemic to Sri Lanka. However, at least three little-known previous records of this species from India evaded most literature and were overlooked by the researchers including ourselves.



Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae, India

Full Text:

PDF/A (949.74 KB)


Aengals, R. & Ganesh, S.R. (2013) Rhinophis goweri- a new species of Shield-tailed snake from the Southern Eastern Ghats, India. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 20, 61–65.

Aengals, R., Sathish Kumar, V.M. & Palot, M.J. (2012) Updated Checklist of Indian Reptiles. Available from: (accessed 31 March 2015)

Agarwal, I., Dutta-Roy, A., Bauer, A. & Giri, V. (2012) Rediscovery of Geckoella jeyporensis (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with notes on morphology, coloration and habitat. Hamadryad, 36, 17–24.

Agarwal, I., Wilkinson, M., Mohapatra, P.P., Dutta, S.K., Giri, V.B. & Gower, D.J. (2013) The first teresomatan caecilian (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) from the Eastern Ghats of India—a new species of Gegeneophis Peters, 1880. Zootaxa, 3693 (4), 534–546.

Constable, J.D. (1949) Reptiles from India Peninsula in the museum of comparative Zoology. Bulletin Museum of comparative Zoology, 103, 59–160.

Das, I. (1994) The reptiles of South Asia: checklist and distributional summary. Hamadryad, 19, 15–40.

Das, I. (1997) Checklist of the reptiles of India, with English common names. Hamadryad, 22, 32–45.

Das, I. (2002) A photographic guide to snakes and other reptiles of India. New Holland, Ralph Curtis books, Sanibel Island, 144 pp.

Das, I. (2003) Growth of knowledge on the reptiles of India, with an introduction to systematics, taxonomy and nomenclature. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society, 100, 3.

Datta-Roy, A., Mohapatra, P.P., Dutta, S.K., Giri, V.B., Veerappan, D., Maddock, S.T., Raj, P., Agarwal, I. & Karanth, P. (2013) A long-lost relic from the Eastern Ghats: Morphology, distribution and habitat of Sepsophis punctatus Beddome, 1870 (Squamata: Scincidae). Zootaxa, 3670, 055–062.

de Silva, A. (1990) Colour guide to the snakes of Sri Lanka. R & A Publishing Ltd, Portishead, UK, 130 pp.

de Silva, A. (2009) Snakes of Sri Lanka: a coloured atlas (with accounts on snakes in archaeology, history, folklore, venomous snakes and snakebite). Vijitha Yapa Publications, Kohuwala, 135 pp.

de Silva, P.H.D.H. (1980) Snake Fauna of Sri Lanka: With Special Reference to Skull, Dentition, and Venom in Snakes. National Museums of Sri Lanka, Colombo, 472 pp.

Deraniyagala, P. (1955) A Colored Atlas of some Vertebrates from Ceylon. Vol. III. Serpentoid Reptilia. The National Museum, Government Press, Colombo, Sri Lanka, xix + 121 pp.

Guptha, B., Prasad, N.V.S., Maddock, S.T. & Deepak, V. (2015) First record of Chrysopelea taprobanica Smith, 1943 (Squamata: Colubridae) from India. Check List, 11, 1523.

Hora, S.L. & Jayaram, K. (1949) Remarks on the distribution of snakes of Peninsular India with Malayan affinities. Proceedings of the National Institute of Science, 15, 399–402.

Mahendra, B.C. (1984) Handbook of the snakes of India, Ceylon, Burma, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Academy of Zoology, Agra, xvi, 412 pp.

Pyron, R.A., Kandambi, H.K.D., Hendry, C.R., Pushpamal, V., Burbrink, F.T. & Somaweera, R. (2013) Genus-level phylogeny of snakes reveals the origins of species richness in Sri Lanka. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 66, 969–978.

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.

Somaweera, R. (2004) Sri Lankan Colubrid Snakes. Sri Lanka Naturalist, 6, 32–46.

Somaweera, R. (2006) Sri Lankawe Sarpayin (‘The Snakes of Sri Lanka'). Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka (WHT), 297 pp.

Srinivasulu, C. & Das, I. (2008). The Herpetofauna of Nallamala Hills, Eastern Ghats, India: An Annotated Checklist, With Remarks on Nomenclature, Taxonomy, Habitat Use, Adaptive Types and Biogeography. Asiatic Herpetological Research, 11, 110–131.

Taylor, E.H. (1950) A brief review of Ceylonese snakes. University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 33(14), 519–603.

Uetz, P. & Hošek, J. (2015) The Reptile Database. Available from: (accessed 11 January 2015)

Wallach, V., Williams, K.L. & Boundy, J. (2014) Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1209 pp.

Whitaker, R. & Captain, A. (2004) Snakes of India. Draco Books, Chennai. 479 pp.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand
A founding journal of Biotaxa