Yellow-spotted Wolf Snake ( Lycodon flavomaculatus Wall, 1907 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Lycodon flavomaculatus (Wall, 1907)
Regional Names: 
Kannada: 
ಹಳದಿ ಚುಕ್ಕೆಯಹಾವು
Gujarati: 
ટપકીલો વરુદંતી
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found in dry zones of Central-western India which includes multiple localities of Maharashtra; Balaghat, Mandla and Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh; parts of Gujarat, and Dharwad and Gulbarga of northern Karnataka.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically it often looks close to Barred Wolf Snake (L. striatus) which also bears yellow color spots on the top of blackish dorsal. Can be identified by checking yellow color buttercup shaped spots on the top of dark dorsal body, often in the form of fine bands instead of spots.

Description: 

Average length- 40cm.
Maximum length- 52cm.

Dorsal -
Body slender with smooth & shiny scales of dark brown, dark chocolate brown or jet black with purple ting. Vibrant yellow color butter-cup shaped spots present of top from neck to end of the tail. on both side of these spots fine bands or dots present which gives it overall appearance of a banded snake. In many specimens either fine bands present or rounded spots without any fine lines joining with side dorsals.

Ventral -
Belly glossy white without any pattern, in many individuals outer edge of ventral scales near dorsals have grayish shade. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Head -
Head flattened, broader than neck and covered with smooth and glossy scales. Color patternless black. A yellow rounded spot present on nape which is first pattern of dorsal body and continue as band on moving posteriorly. Eyes entirely black in appearance with vertically elliptical pupil. Tongue color pinkish-red.

Tail -
Covered with smooth scales with dorsal markings in small scale. Length normal as typical range with pointed tip.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 9; 3rd to 5th contact with eyes; loreal 1, in contact with internasal; preocular 1; postocular 2; temporal 2+3.
Dorsal: 
Smooth and similar shaped scales in 17:17:15 rows.
Ventral: 
165-183; not angulated; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
53-63; paired.
Habitat: 
Remain hidden in narrow cracks or under heavy objects during day time. Found in dry and mixed deciduous and semi-desert forests of Central-western India. Lives mainly in rocky terrain, lands having cracks, human habitation etc. This is also confined in urban environment and modified habitats. Juveniles occasionally seen under the rock laid on the ground.
Natural History: 
Yellow-spotted Wolf Snake is a nocturnal species which shows activity both on ground and heights of rocks (prefers ground). Behavior shy and non-offensive (much docile that most of the Wolf Snakes). On provocation initially try to escape; later it makes coil or ball of whole body to hide its head under it as a defensive response. Oviparous. No specific information is known about breeding. New born seen during monsoon which indicates egg lying is done during summer months to mid monsoon.
Diet: 
Feeds on geckos, skinks and small rodents.
Threats: 
This species lives in ignored lands scattered with rocks but it is well settled in urban environment and manipulated plains. So habitat destruction seems not a serious threat for this snake. Road kills and killing due to misidentification or fear are major threats.
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