Ashok's Bronzeback ( Dendrelaphis ashoki Vogel & Rooijen, 2011 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Dendrelaphis ashoki (Vogel & Rooijen, 2011)
Regional Names: 
Kannada: 
ಅಶೋಕ್ ಕಂಚುಬೆನ್ನು ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found southwards to Central Western Ghats (South of Lat. 18°N) from the state of Karnataka to the southern limits of India. Type locality- Anamalais, India.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically It is usually confusing with closest sister species Giri's Bronzeback (D. girii) which is found in the same range. Former is known for having a longer postocular streak of black color which covers posterior of the neck while Giri's Bronzeback bears it in very short form. There is one more easy difference between these two is number of loreal scales. In D. ashoki single loreal is present while D. girii is known for having two loreals on each side.

Description: 

Average length- 70cm.
Maximum length- 102.5cm.

Dorsal -
Body thin, long, covered with smooth scales. Scales arranged in oblique manner with top row along vertebra larger than adjacent dorsals. Vertebral stripe absent or very faint on forebody only. Color brown or golden-brown; having sky blue color on lower edge of fore and mid body scales which are best visible when snake is in alert or aggressive position. Postocular streak broken into discontinuous blotches and run along the side dorsals.

Ventral -
Belly scales sharply folded upwards. Color yellowish-white or pale yellow with buff coloration on keel. Edge of ventrals and initial dorsal rows having discontinuous series of faint or dark blotches which runs behind the postocular streak. Subcaudal scales with olive tint of yellow or brown color.

Head -
Head flattened, elongated and clearly broader than neck. Upper lip and underside of head white. Top of the head patternless brown. A thin black preocular streak starts from nostril above upper lip. One thick postocular streak stars from posterior of eyes and runs along the posterior of neck; often breaks into blotches on neck. Large eyes with rounded pupils. Tongue color red.

Tail -
Very long, thin and slender tail of brown color which ends with a pointed tip. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Scalation
Head: 
A long first sublabial in contact with 3-5 infralabials; supralabial 9 or rarely 8; 4th to 6th in contact with eyes; total 2-4 in contact with eyes; loreal 1; postocular 2; 9–14 temporals (usually 2+2).
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 15: 15: 9/11 rows; vertebral scales enlarged, smaller than or equal to the dorsals of the first row.
Ventral: 
164–180; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
151–162; paired.
Diet: 
Feeds on lizards, frogs and small rodents.
Threats: 
No specific threats are known. It lives in southern Western Ghats and current knowledge says its found commonly there. Road kill mortality can be a cause because of its abundance in forest edges and urban areas also. Habitat loss including disturbing vegetation of moderate height will be one more notable threat like other arboreal snakes.
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