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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Elegant Bronzeback

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6



Species: Dendrelaphis formosus
Maximum Size : 1.4 metres

A species of lowland rainforests, the beautiful Elegant Bronzeback is almost exclusively arboreal in habits, rarely descending to the ground. It feeds mainly on tree-dwelling geckoes and skinks, and is diurnal.

Its body is long, and extremely slender. Its distinguishing features include the large eye, which is at least half the diameter of the thickness of the head, and larger in the male than in the female. A thick, black stripe extends from the tip of the snout, through the eye, to some distance along the upper flank.

The top of the head is brown, and this continues as a broad, brown stripe which extends along the length of the vertebral line. The flanks along the anterior half of the body are bright pale green to yellow-green.

The species is easily confused with the Blue Bronzeback Dendrelaphis cyanochloris, however the presence of narrow, black stripes towards the tail (see Figure 3) is the most reliable feature by which to separate the two species in the field.

The Elegant Bronzeback occurs in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.

Figs 1 to 4 : Male, photographed at Taman Negara, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia. Note the dark stripes on the posterior part of the body in Figure 3, which help to distinguish the species in the field.

Figs 5 and 6 : Example from Lambir Hills, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo found resting on a narrow branch at night.

References : H12