Kashmir rock agama | Laudakia tuberculata Gray, 1827

Kashmir rock agama | Laudakia tuberculata Gray, 1827   Kashmir rock agama is a species of lizard that belong to family agamidae which i...

Green vine snake | Ahaetulla nasuta (Lacépède, 1789)

Green vine snake is also known as long-nosed whip snake and common vine snake belonging to colubridae family of snakes; it is a slende...


Green vine snake is also known as long-nosed whip snake and common vine snake belonging to colubridae family of snakes; it is a slender tree snake which is green in color. Ahaetulla nasuta is distributed in countries viz., Burma, Bhutan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. There are many other vernacular names used for the species in different regions such as “Pachai paambu” in Tamil and “Shelati snake” in Marathi are among the lots of other vernacular names for the Green vine snake. The species Ahaetulla nasuta sometimes confused with the Oxybelis fulgidus species which is found in Central and South America due to its common name “Green vine snake".  In India the species is protected under schedule-IV of wild life protection act. The term “Ahaetulla” received by the species is due to the false belief that it attacks at the eye, as in Sinhala it means “Eye plucker”.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Animalia
Phylum:
Chordata
Class:
Reptilia
Order:
Squamata
Suborder:
Serpentes
Family:
Colubridae
Genus:
Ahaetulla
Species:
nasuta
Binomial name
Ahaetulla nasuta, Lacépède (1789)
Ahaetulla nasuta is a diurnal species and is mildly venomous. The food of the species mainly contains frogs and lizards that they hunt by using their binocular vision, besides also take other small vertebrates. These are among slow moving serpents which rely on camouflaging. While in threat the snakes expand their body to display a black and white scale marking with this, they may also open their mouth as a warning towards the perceived threat. This is the only snake species having horizontal pupils, comparing to the family of vipers that normal have vertical slit pupils.

Ahaetulla nasuta, (Lacépède 1789)- Image source: Davidvraju (wikipedia)
The species is viviparous in nature which gives birth to young’s that grow inside female’s body, surrounded by egg membrane. They have been considered capable of delaying fertilization as in reports in the London zoo kept a female in isolation from August, 1885 which gave birth in August, 1888.
The taxonomy of vine snakes is not very well acknowledged and literature works also varies widely, but there are around 10 species that are commonly counted under the genus Ahaetulla and those are:  Ahaetulla anomala (Annandale, 1906) - Variable colored vine snake; Ahaetulla dispar (Günther, 1864) - Günther's vine snake or Indian bronze back; Ahaetulla fasciolata (Fischer, 1885) - Speckle-headed whipsnake; Ahaetulla fronticincta (Günther, 1858) -Burmese vine snake; Ahaetulla laudankia, Deepak, Narayanan, Sarkar, Dutta & Mohapatra, 2019 - Laudankia vine snake;  Ahaetulla mycterizans (Linnaeus, 1758) - Malayan green whip snake; Ahaetulla nasuta (Lacépède, 1789) - Long-nosed whip snake; Ahaetulla perroteti (Duméril & Bibron, 1854) - Western Ghats bronze back; Ahaetulla pulverulenta (Duméril & Bibron, 1854) - Brown-speckled whip snake; and Ahaetulla prasina (Boie, 1827) - Oriental whip snake or Asian vine snake which is further reported to have  4 subspecies under it viz., Ahaetulla prasina prasina (Boie, 1827); Ahaetulla prasina medioxima, Lazell, (2002); Ahaetulla prasina preocularis (Taylor, 1922), and Ahaetulla prasina suluensis, Gaulke, (1994).

Ahaetulla nasuta (Lacépède 1789)- Image source: Kalyan Varma (wikipedia)

Dorsally the species is thin, long having slender body; dorsal scales are smooth and are obliquely arranged. While the color of the species found is bluish-green or parrot green; and brown in variability. There is even black inter-scale form present in tilted style from neck up to mid body. Over the ventral side belly is entirely yellow-green in color and is pattern less. Occasional a white or yellow color border separates the dorsal and ventral surfaces. On the other hand the subcaudal scales are paired in as crisscross mode. Dorsal scales are arranged in oblique rows of 15:15:13. Anal divided and are 166-207 in number; sub caudal are 156-180 in males whereas 135-152 in females and are paired. Snakes have 8 super labials out of which 5th in contact with eye; lower labials 4 touching the anterior chin-shields which are shorter than posterior ones; preocular 1; loral absent, presubocular 1 or 2; postocular 2; temporal 1+2 or 2+2. Head in these snakes are long and distinguishable from neck having pointed snout. The color of the upper lip is white or yellow. Eyes have horizontal pupils. While tail in these specimens are very long, thin and slender tail ends having pointed tip.

As the species is mildly venomous in nature its bite causes swelling, pain, bruising and numbness in the area of bite and usually symptoms subsides within 3-4 days. In terms of habitat the species like to be in low bushes, shrubs and trees in lowland forest ranges at an elevation of about 1000 m.asl, especial near the streams, rarely can be seen near human settlements also. There is no local threat is reported concerning the species expect the declining habitat.

Literature Cited:
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Bhattarai, S., Pokheral, C.P., Lamichhane, B.R., Regmi, U.R., Ram, A.K. and Subedi, N. (2018). Amphibians and reptiles of Parsa National Park, Nepal. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, 12(1): 35–48 (e155)
Botejue, W., Madhava, S. and Wattavidanage, J. (2012). Herpetofaunal diversity and distribution in Kalugala proposed forest reserve, Western province of Sri Lanka. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation. 5(2): 65-80(e38). - get paper here
Boulenger, G.A. (1890). The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London - get paper here
Boulenger, G.A. (1896). Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London, Taylor & Francis. - get paper here
 Brischoux, F., Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R. (2010). Insights into the adaptive significance of vertical pupil shape in snakes. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23 (9): 1878–1885. 
By Davidvraju - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50900753 retrieved on 18 March 2020
By Jayendra Chiplunkar - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19498520 retrieved on 18 March 2020
By Kalyan Varma - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55477295 retrieved on 18 March 2020
Chandramouli, S.R. and Ganesh, S.R. (2010). Herpetofauna of Southern Western Ghats, India − reinvestigated after decades. Taprobanica, 2(2): 72-85
Cox, M.J., Van, D., Peter, P., Jarujin, N. and Thirakhupt, K. (1998). A photographic guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
Das, I. and De Silva, A. (2005). Photographic guide to snakes and other reptiles of Sri Lanka. New Holland Publishers, 144 pp.
Das, I., Dattagupta, B. and Gayen N.C. (1998). History and catalogue of reptile types in the collection of the Zoological Survey of India. J. South Asian nat. Hist., 3 (2):121-172
Deepak, V., Narayanan, S., Sarkar, V., Dutta, S.K. and Mohapatra, P.P. (2019). A new species of Ahaetulla Link, 1807 (Serpentes: Colubridae: Ahaetullinae) from India. J. Nat. Hist. 53: 497–516 - get paper here
Dowling, H.G. and Jenner, J.V. (1988). Snakes of Burma: checklist of reported species and bibliography. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (76): 19 pp. - get paper here
Dutta, S.K. and Acharjyo, L. N. (1995). Herpetofaunal resources and their conservation in Orissa, India. Zoos’ Print, 10 (7):5-8
Ganesh, S.R., Asokan, J.R. (2010). Catalogue of Indian herpetological specimens in the collection of the Government Museum Chennai, India. Hamadryad, 35(1):46 – 63
Golder, F. (1989). Ahaetulla nasuta (Lacépède, 1789), Haltung und Nachzucht. Salamandra, 25 (2): 65-72 - get paper here
Grismer, L.L., Neang, T., Chav, T. and Grismer, J.L. (2008). Checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of the Cardamom region of Southwestern Cambodia. Cambodian Journal of Natural History, (1): 12–28 - get paper here
Hnizdo, J. and Krug, P. 1997. Drei Baumschnüfflerarten (Ahaetulla) - Haltung und Probleme. Sauria, 19 (4): 3-12 - get paper here
https://www.thainationalparks.com/species/ahaetulla-nasuta retrieved on 17 March 2020
Janzen, P. and Malaka, B. (2011). The herpetofauna of a small and unprotected patch of tropical rainforest in Morningside, Sri Lanka. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, 5(2):1-13 - get paper here
Kartik, A. (2018). Ahaetulla nasuta (Indian Vine Snake) Diet. Herpetological Review, 49 (2): 333 - get paper here
Karunarathna, D.M.S.S. and Amarasinghe, A.A.T. (2009). Erstnachweis von Blutegeln (Hirudinea) im Beutespektrum der Langnasen-Peitschennatter, Ahaetulla nasuta (Reptilia, Colubridae). Sauria, 31(4):53-54 - get paper here
Kästle, W., Rai, K. and Schleich, H.H. (2013). Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal. ARCO-Nepal e.V., 625 pp. - get paper here
Lacepède, B.G.E. (1789). Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupèdes Ovipares et de Serpens. Vol.2. lmprimerie du Roi, Hôtel de Thou, Paris, 671 pp. - get paper here
Mahony, S., Md. Kamrul, H., Md. Mofizul, K., Mushfiq, A. and Md. Kamal, H. (2009). A catalogue of amphibians and reptiles in the collection of Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hamadryad, 34(1): 80 – 94 - get paper here
Murthy, T.S.N. (1990). Illustrated Guide to the Snakes of the Western Ghats, India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, Occasional Paper No. 114
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Praveen, V.P. and Muhamed, J.P. (2017). Predation of Large-eyed Bronzeback Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis grandoculis) by the Common Vine Snake (Ahaetulla nasuta) at the Silent Valley National Park, Kerala. Zoo’s Print, 32 (5): 24-26 - get paper here
Sharma S.K. (2005). Three Records of Ahaetulla nasuta var. Isabellinus from Rajasthan. Zoos’ Print Journal, 20(11): 2061
Smith, M.A. (1943). The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London.
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Varma, V. and Gaurav, G. (2019). An unusual morph in Green Vine Snake, Ahaetulla nasuta spp. (Lacépède, 1789) (Serpentes: Colubridae: Ahaetullinae) from Matheran, Maharashtra, India. Records Zool. Survey India, 119 (1): 88-90 - get paper here
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PerSonaLife: Green vine snake | Ahaetulla nasuta (Lacépède, 1789)
Green vine snake | Ahaetulla nasuta (Lacépède, 1789)
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