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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2021



Dendrelaphis lineolatus

Species: Dendrelaphis sp.
Maximum Size : Around 1.5 metres ?

Dendrelaphis lineolatus is a distinctively coloured species of bronzeback or tree snake from New Guinea and adjacent islands.

The top of its head and its entire tail are black, and in sharp contrast to the underside of the head and belly which are pure white. The middle part of the body is black to brownish black, typically with oblique dark bars. There are black spots on the underside and dark blotches at the edge of the ventral scales. As with all species of Dendrelaphis, its body is slender, its head is small and its eyes are large with a round pupil.

The snake pictured here was found on the island of Waigeo, Raja Ampat, West Papua Province, eastern Indonesia : the island lies around 50 km off the northwest coast of New Guinea. It was found early in the morning on a hillside slope in lowland primary rainforest, at an elevation of around 150 metres.

Dendrelaphis lineolatus occurs on the main island of New Guinea, as well as the neighbouring islands of Misool, Salawati and Yapen (van Rooijen at al, 2015). Based on this image, it also occurs on the island of Waigeo.

Fig 1 : A striking image of this species in a typically alert Dendrelaphis-style posture, actively hunting but ready to flee.  Photo thanks to Simon Day. 

References :

van Rooijen, J., Vogel, G. & Somaweera, R. (2015). A revised taxonomy of the Australo-Papuan species of the colubrid genus Dendrelaphis (Serpentes: Colubridae). Salamandra, 51(1): 33-56.

Thanks to Gernot Vogel for assistance.



Fig 1
ゥ  Simon Day