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Northern Tree Snake

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Colubroidea

Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Ahaetuliinae
Genus: Dendrelaphis
Species: Dendrelaphis calligastra

Dendrelaphis calligastra (Günther, 1867)

Type locality: Cape York, Queensland, Australia.

Holotype: BMNH

Dendrophis calligastra Günther, 1867: 53
Dendrophis lineolata — Duméril & Bibron, 1854: 200 (fide Wallach)
Dendrophis salomonis Günther, 1872: 25
Dendrophis aruensis Doria, 1874: 349
Dendrophis katowensis Macleay, 1877: 37
Dendrophis darnleyensis Macleay, 1877: 38
Dendrophis culligaster Boulenger, 1894: 80 (emend. pro D. calligastra)
Dendrelaphis papuensis Boulenger, 1895: 409
Dendrelaphis schlenckeri Ogilby, 1898: 361
Dendrophis calligaster — de Rooij, 1917: 60
Dendrophis calligastra keiensis Mertens, 1926: 277
Ahaetulla calligastra salomonis — Schmidt, 1932
Dendrophis calligastra distinguendus Meise & Hennig, 1932: 279
Dendrelaphis calligastra - Cogger, 1983: 210
Dendrelaphis calligastra — Cogger, 2000: 620


Günther, A. 1867. Additions to the knowledge of Australian reptiles and fishes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (3) 20: 45–57.
Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp.
Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
van Rooijen, J. & Vogel, G. 2016. On the status of three nominal species in the synonymy of Dendrelaphis calligaster (Günther, 1867) (Serpentes: Colubridae). Zootaxa 4093(2): 293–300. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4093.2.10.Reference page.


Dendrelaphis calligastra at the New Reptile Database. Accessed on 25 August 2008.

Vernacular names
English: Coconot treesnake

Dendrelaphis calligastra, also called green tree snake and northern green tree snake is a colubrid snake native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia.[1] It is a slender, large-eyed, nonvenomous, diurnal snake, which grows up to 1.2 m in length and is greenish, brown, or greyish above with a cream or yellow belly.[2]

This common snake is harmless, and readily recognised due to its cream to yellow belly and pronounced wide dark facial stripe passing across the eye.[2][3]


Dendrelaphis: 'tree Elaphe', after another genus of colubrid snakes. calligastra: 'beautiful-bellied'.[4]

Northern tree snakes are found in tropical north Queensland, from Paluma to Cooktown and eastern Cape York Peninsula, as well as southern Papua New Guinea. They live in a wide variety of habitats, including rainforest, urban and farmed regions, and open forest. They often bask in the leaf canopy of small bushes and trees and can escape very quickly through the canopy.

They eat frogs and reptiles.
Photo showing distinctive black stripe through eye

Dendrelaphis calligastra is common in Queensland's northern tropics and eastern Cape York Peninsula.

The northern tree snake lays eggs in clutches from five to seven, with one female recorded as laying 11 eggs in January.[3]

Tallowin, O.; Allison, A.; O'Shea, M.; Parker, F.; Hoskin, C.; Vanderduys, E.; Amey, A.; Couper, P. & Cogger, H. (2018). "Dendrelaphis calligaster". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T116827083A1445157. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T192161A44271408.en.{{cite iucn}}: error: |doi= / |page= mismatch (help)
Queensland Museum (2000), p. 247.
Ehmann (1992), p. 376.

"Reptiles Down Under – Australian Reptile Studies".

Further reading

Queensland Museum (2000). Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland: Cooktown to Mackay. ISBN 0-7242-9349-3
Ehmann (1992). Encyclopedia of Australian Animals: Reptiles. Harald Ehmann. The Australian Museum. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-17379-6 (Reptiles).


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