Khaire's Shield tail ( Melanophidium khairei Gower, Giri, Captain & Wilkinson, 2016 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Melanophidium khairei (Gower, Giri, Captain & Wilkinson, 2016)
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
This species is endemic to parts of Central and Northern Western Ghats, where it occurs in southern Maharashtra, Goa, and northern Karnataka States. It is reportedly sighted in Anjiwade, Patgaon, Amboli, and Tillari in Maharashtra. Talawade, Aveda Poppalwadi in Karnataka and Verle, Goa.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

A Melanophidium that differs from M. bilineatum and M. wynaudense in being piebald and punctate. Differs from M. punctatum in having fewer versus more than 13 pairs of subcaudal scales, in having 13 (versus 15) dorsal scale rows between the 20th and 40th ventral, and in having a short, dorsoventrally compressed (versus a much longer than wide, laterally compressed) terminal scute.

Description: 

Small to medium-sized snake; body fairly slender; irridescent black; shiny and glossy; snout pointed; tail tip blunt. 

Scalation
Head: 
rostral produced, but not quite separating nasals; labial scales 4 on upper and lower lips; mental groove present;
Dorsal: 
Scale rows 19 :17 (on neck):15:13 (on forebody): 15:13 (on hind body)
Ventral: 
ventrals 191-200
Sub Caudal: 
subcaudals 11-13 (both sexes)
Habitat: 
Found in Evergreen forests
Natural History: 
Burrowing species; moving on to land surface during rains.
Diet: 
Feeds largely on earthworms and other soft-bodied creatures.
Threats: 
Habitat loss, Road-kills, wanton killing.
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