Aquatic Rhabdops ( Rhabdops aquaticus Giri, Deepak, Captain & Gower, 2017 )

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Scientific Name: 
Rhabdops aquaticus (Giri, Deepak, Captain & Gower, 2017 )
Regional Names: 
Aquatic Rhabdops
Rhabdops aquaticus is known from the Western Ghats region of Goa, northernmost Karnataka and southern Maharashtra, from elevations of 750–1000 m asl. This species is mostly seen in upland laterite plateaus associated with semi-evergreen forest and it may occur in similar habitats in the region as well. In Maharashtra, this species is recorded from Humbarli, Koyna WLS, Kaas and Chalakewadi in Satara district, Amboli in Sidhudurg district and Baraki, Kolhapur.
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Scales are smooth, brownish body with a yellowish/pale white ventro-lateral line separating the dorsum and venter. Juveniles are olive colored, become brownish in adults.

Belly always with a dark, clearly demarcated irregular midventral stripe in both juveniles and adults.


Average Length - 53.5 cm

Maximum length - 74.5 cm

Body is cylindrical, it is gently tapering at both ends, slightly wide at midbody. Tail is much more strongly tapered than the posterior body.

Head is slightly broader than the anterior of body. Snout is not pointed
Body scales are smooth. Scales are evenly sized on dorsum along the body except for those involved in row reductions.Darker dorsum of body and tail bears row of evenly spaced, darker grey, irregular spots. Tail is flattened ventrally. 

This species is generally grey, brown and green in color (observed in preserved specimens) with creamy white venter with a dark coloured midventral stripe. The shade is darker above, a border is present between the darker dorsum and paler venter.

It is found in regions with elevations 750m and above upto to 1000m asllimit. Always found in moist, waterlogged areas under rocks, in seasonal pools. This species has been encountered mostly during the monsoon season, when it is predominantly aquatic or semi-aquatic, seen in or along streams in semi-evergreen forest and waterlogged habitats on lateritic plateaus, has not been sighted in forests away from streams. At the type locality, Amboli, adults have been seen mostly in streams in semi-evergreen forest, and juveniles seen mostly on lateritic plateaus during the monsoon.
Natural History: 
Rhabdops aquaticus is chiefly nocturnal, individuals were found seemingly foraging in lentic or very slowly flowing water on plateaus and in forest streams. It can remain submerged in water for about 4-12 minutes. During the day, most individuals remain under or basking on rocks close to a stream.
Recent records are lacking from historical localities, and this may be associated with longer-term response to habitat degradation, range of R. aquaticus.Is threatened by water pollution and siltation from human activities.Except those in protected areas, are impacted negatively by habitat degradation pressure and the lack of legal protection. It is possible that effective conservation of R. aquaticus will require protection of additional areas of suitable habitat across its range
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