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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Many-scaled Keelback
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Family : NATRICIDAE
Species : Tropidonophis multiscutellatus
Maximum Size : 100 cm

The images here have been identified with reasonable confidence as a Many-scaled Keelback on the basis of size, colour and patterning. This is one of Papua New Guinea's medium-sized keelbacks.

This specimen was active in the late afternoon, and once disturbed it rapidly fled into the adjacent forest.

The snake is of slender build, with a long tail. Its dorsal surface is dark grey or brownish grey, with some darker patches, and the ventral surface is pale. The eye is large, and there is a short, dark stripe behind the eye.

As discussed in the text for the New Guinea Keelback, it seems unusual to find a keelback in an area of karst limestone topography where there is little standing water or permanent streams, since keelbacks are generally considered to be semi-aquatic.

This species is widely distributed in PNG, with elevation records from sea level to 1440m. Its range extends to some offshore islands, and further west to Indonesian Papua (formerly Irian Jaya).


Figs 1 and 2 : Measuring approximately one metre, this specimen was found in in the middle of a road in the Gobe area, Southern Highlands Province, PNG at an elevation of around 800 metres.


References : H6