Captain’s Wood Snake ( Xylophis captaini Gower & Winkler, 2007 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Xylophis captaini (Gower & Winkler, 2007)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Captain's Narrow Headed Snake
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Currently it is known from Western parts of Periyar and Agasthyamalai hills in Southern Western Ghats, Kerala (Kottayam district, also the type locality; Trivendram; Ponmudi Hills of Thiruvananthapuram district etc.) and Tamil Nadu state (Kanyakumari district) etc.
Family: 
Xenodermatidae
Description: 

Dorsal-
Short, cylindrical and somewhat robust body covered with subequal and smooth scales. Color iridescent brown of dark to light range with seven dark longitudinal stripes in whole dorsal body. Top row on 8th scale narrowest, dorsolateral stripes slightly broader and found on 5th or 6th rows, 3rd row with another thin stripe, ventrolateral stripe paler. Between these dark stripes scales in various shades of mottled pale brown and whitish. Broadest light color stripe found on 4th dorsal row bears large whitish spot on center.

Ventral -
Belly dark brown similar to dorsal and nearly as broad as breadth of ventral scales. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Head -
Head short with obtusely pointed snout and scarcely broader than neck. Color entirely glossy dark brown or darker than dorsal ground color. A thick yellow collar present with is usually disconnected on top. Some indistinct yellowish-white patches may also present on the top shields especially on snout and temporal region. Small eyes have rounded or oval pupil but overall appears entirely black.

Tail -
Short and thick tail ends with a thick tip. Color similar to dorsal body and have stripes in faint form.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 5; 3rd & 4th in contact with eyes; supraocular scale equal in size to postocular scale; first smallest, in contact with rostral and nasal only; fourth in contact with postocular and temporal; a long conspicuous scale present between eyes and nasal, guarded by 2nd & 3rd supralabials; kite or diamond shape frontal significantly longer than broad, about as long as length of parietals; parietal scales make shorter midline contact with each other; temporal 1+2, subequal, anterior reaches to level of last two supralabials; first and second infralabial scales short and together are shorter than the third infralabial; Approximately 27-30 maxillary teeth.
Dorsal: 
Smooth, imbricate and subequal scales in 15 rows.
Ventral: 
106-122; anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
Male 17-22, Female 10-14; paired.
Habitat: 
Tall evergreen forest. Also associated plantations.
Natural History: 
Semi-fossorial. Found under logs, stones and under dense leaf-litter.
Diet: 
Feeds on earthworms and caecillians. Probably feeds on insect larvae also.
Threats: 
Road-kills. Habitat loss, destruction, etc.
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