Giri's Bronzeback ( Dendrelaphis girii Vogel & Rooijen, 2011 )

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Scientific Name: 
Dendrelaphis girii (Vogel & Rooijen, 2011)
Regional Names: 
ಗಿರಿ ಕಂಚುಬೆನ್ನಿನ ಹಾವು
Widely distributed across the Western Ghats up to Maharashtra's central part (Raigarh district, assumed to be Northernmost limit) of Western Ghats. This is the most widely distributed endemic Dendrelaphis species and overall the second most widely distributed Dendrelaphis species of Peninsular India.
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically It is very close to Ashok's Bronzeback (D. ashoki) which is found in the same range. Former is known for having a very short and faint black postocular streak which covers only the posterior of head while Ashok's Bronzeback bears it in longer form till the posterior of neck. In D. girii two loreals are present which is a unique character among all peninsular Indian Bronzebacks while D. ashoki bears typically a single loreal. 


Average length- 70cm.
Maximum length- 105cm.

Dorsal -
Body thin, long, slender and covered with smooth scales. Scales arranged in oblique manner with top row along vertebra moderately larger than adjacent dorsals. Color bluish-gray mixed with brown without any bronze stripe on vertebral region. Bluish dots present on greater part of dorsal and faint on posterior side. Ventrolateral stripe either of white color or absent.

Ventral -
Belly scales sharply folded upwards. Color yellowish-white or greenish-white which extends to first dorsal row also. Subcaudal scales with olive ting of yellow or light brown color.

Head -
Head flattened, elongated and clearly broader than neck. Top of the head patternless brown or golden-brown. Upper lip yellowish-white. A thin and not much defined preocular streak present above initial supralabials. A thick postocular streak starts from posterior of eyes and reaches to posterior of head only. Large eyes with rounded pupils. Tongue color reddish.

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

Supralabials 8 or 9; 5th & 6th in contact with eyes; loreal 2; postocular 2; total 6-8 temporal scales; infralabial 9-10; 1-3 gular rows.
Smooth scales in 15: 15: 11 rows; vertebral scales moderately enlarged.
166-173; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
140-147; paired.
Feeds on lizards, frogs and small rodents.
No specific threats are known. It lives in wider parts of Western Ghats and abundantly found there. Road kill mortality can be a cause because of its abundance in forest edges also. Habitat loss including disturbing vegetation of moderate height will be one more notable threat.
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