Friday, March 11, 2011

A New Snake From Indonesia

Boiga jaspidea, Borneo
An estimated 400 species of known snakes occur in Indonesia and this number has remained relatively stable during the past few decades, because little work has been done in this collection of islands and very few herpetologists are working in Indonesia. This situation has changed. The genus Boiga (sometimes called cat snakes) contains 32 to 35 species depending upon who is doing the counting. The genus is widely distributed in Southeast Asia and composed of mostly medium to large-sized snakes that feed on birds and small mammals. Boiga. dendrophila (sometimes called the Mangrove Snake) has numerous but distinctive subspecies, a rare case for Southeast Asian herpetofauna and it is unclear if this is a widespread species or a complex of species. Widespread species are relatively uncommon in Southeast Asia because of the regions complex geological history that has imposed and removed barriers to gene flow over time. Gilang Ramadham and colleagues have discovered a snake similar in morphology to Boiga cynodon (Boie, 1827). However, It differs from cynodon in several ways, it is only half of the size of B. cynodon , has a higher number of dorsal scales, a lower number of ventral and subcaudals and has a very fine postorbital stripe. The new snake, Boiga hoeseli inhabits the Nusa Tenggara Islands of Indonesia and the type locality is Flores. The new snake is named after J. K. P. van Hoesel author of the first guide book to Java snakes.

Ramadhan, Gilang; Djoko T. Iskandar and Dadang R. Subasri. 2010. New Species of Cat Snake (Serpentes: Colubridae) Morphologically Similar to Boiga cynodon from the Nusa Tenggara Islands, Indonesia. Asian Herpetological Research 1 (1): 22-30.

1 comment:

  1. Can anyone help? I have found what appears to be a 'chameleon' mud snake in my garden on the island of Java, Indonesia. It is about 30cms long and brown, but when threatened its head and neck swell and become bright red and green respectively. The colour seems to be beneath the scales. I can't catch it, but I would like someone to observe this beautiful creature. My neighbour said she saw a similar one recently which turned white.