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Hebius monticola

Hebius monticola (Source)

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: Natricinae
Genus: Hebius
Species: Hebius monticola

Hebius monticola (Jerdon, 1853)

Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2021. Hebius monticola. The Reptile Database. Accessed on 26 September 2019.
Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B. & Shankar, G. 2016. IUCN: Hebius monticola (Least Concern). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T172633A96310193. DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T172633A96310193.en

Vernacular names
English: Hill Keelback

Hebius monticola is a harmless colubrid snake species endemic to the Western Ghats of India. They are especially well known from the Kodagu and Wayanad regions of the Western Ghats.

Adults are small and slender and found in leaf litter in forest habitats. The head is reddish. The body is brownish with a greenish gloss, while some individuals are bright green.

This species has 19 keeled dorsal scale rows at midbody, 133–144 ventrals. The anal scale is divided, and it has 78–92 subcaudals, which are also divided. There are 8 supralabials with the 3rd, 4th and 5th touching the eye. There is one preocular scale.[3]

Description from G. A. Boulenger, The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma:[4]

Eye large, its diameter more than its distance from the nostril; rostral just visible from above; suture between the internasals shorter than that between the prefrontals; frontal considerably longer than its distance from the end of the snout, as long as the parietals; loreal as long as deep, or deeper than long; one preocular; three postoculars; temporals 2 + 2; upper labials 8, third, fourth, and fifth entering the eye; 5 lower labials in contact with the anterior chin shields, which are a little shorter than the posterior chin shields.

Scales in 19 rows, strongly keeled, except for those in the outer row which are smooth or feebly keeled. Ventrals 134–142; anal divided; subcaudals 80–92.

Green above, with black crossbands divided on each side by a pale spot; a white line across the head behind the eyes, and a white dot on each side of the frontal; preoculars, postoculars, and labials 3 to 6, all white; lower parts white.

Total length 45 cm (18 inches), tail 14 cm (5½ inches).


Srinivasulu, C.; Srinivasulu, B. & Shankar, G. (2016). "Hebius monticola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T172633A96310193. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T172633A96310193.en.
Hebius monticola at the Reptile Database
Whitaker and Captain, 2004

Boulenger, G.A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor and Francis, Printers). London. xviii + 541 pp. (Tropidonotus monticola, p. 348.)

Further reading

Jerdon, T.C. (1853) Catalogue of the Reptiles inhabiting the Peninsula of India. Part 2. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal xxii: 522–534.
Whitaker, R. and Ashok Captain (2004) Snakes of India: The Field Guide. Draco Books, Chennai.

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