Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia


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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2022



Blue Bronzeback

Species: Dendrelaphis cyanochloris
Maximum Size : 1.5 metres

The Blue Bronzeback Dendrelaphis cyanochloris occurs predominantly in lowland primary forest and adjacent mature secondary forest.

This long and slender snake is an agile climber in common with other whip-like bronzebacks. It hunts by day for lizards and frogs.

It is similar in colour and patterning to the Elegant Bronzeback Dendrelaphis formosus, with which it has long been confused. The Blue Bronzeback can be distinguished from the Elegant Bronzeback by the black stripe which starts immediately in front of the eye and extends onto the neck only. The eye is slightly smaller than that of the Elegant Bronzeback, and it lacks the three narrow, black lines which are present posteriorly on the latter snake.

The species is most easily identified when its anterior body is inflated in defense : at such times the vivid blue of the interstitial skin (the skin between the scales) is revealed. Though the Elegant Bronzeback also has blue interstitial skin, this appears to be far more intense in the Blue Bronzeback.

The species ranges from India through Myanmar and Thailand to Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.

Figs 1 and 2 : Full-grown adult photographed at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore. Photos thanks to Shawn Mathai

Fig 3 : Part of the posterior section of the body, showing typical scale arrangement and a variety of shades of brown and cream.


Fig 1
ゥ  Shawn Mathai
Fig 2
ゥ  Shawn Mathai
Fig 3