Shortt's Shieldtail ( Uropeltis shorttii Beddome, 1863 )

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Scientific Name: 
Uropeltis shorttii (Beddome, 1863)
Endemic to Southern Eastern Ghats. Inhabits riparian forests near high-elevation zones of Yercaud in Shevaroy hills, in Salem district, Tamil Nadu.

Uropeltis shorttii is diagnosed by the following combination of characters:

Part of rostral visible from above, not distinctly longer than its distance from frontal; rostral not fully separating nasals, shorter than rostral scale.
Dorsal dark blackish-brown with distinct yellow crossbars or annuli all over the body.
Ventral with alternate rhomboidal large yellow and black spots or blotches, the two colours of equal intensities.
Tail shield with clearly defined, thickened, circumscribed disc

Rostral visible from above, smaller than nasal, not completely separating nasals; nasals in contact with one another posteriorly, prefrontals not in contact with rostral, subequal in size to nasal and ocular scales; nasals pierced by nostril, divided by rostral anteriorly but in contact with each other posteriorly; prefrontals somewhat larger than nasals and oculars, subequal to frontal; frontal longer than broad, distinctly smaller than parietal; parietals large, largest of all head scales; supralabials 4, 1st and 2nd ones small, 3rd below eye, 4th the largest; infralabials 3, elongate; mental scale small, subequal to 1st infralabial, but as wide as long.
Body scales imbricate, cycloid; dorsally around body in 19: 17: 17-15. rows;
141–156 (148.5±10.6), angulate laterally; anal 2, left overlap right; each larger than a body scale.
Sub Caudal: 
10–12 pairs +1 terminal scale; tail shield distinctly truncate above, mildly concave, circumscribed and ridged; covered with 30–31 (30.5±0.7), bi- and tricarinate thickened scales; 10 scales across the length and 4–5 (4.5±0.6) across the width of the tail shield.
Riparian forests. Found near stream and water courses.
Natural History: 
Poorly-known. Burrowing.
Feeds on earthworms.
Critically Endangered species. Requires urgent conservation measures. Currently known only from one hill, a tourist spot and absent in any protected area network.
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