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Type: Article
Published: 2023-11-15
Page range: 74-92
Abstract views: 402
PDF downloaded: 22

Rediscovery and systematics of Rhinophis fergusonianus Boulenger, 1896 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from India’s Western Ghats

Natural History Museum; London SW7 5BD; UK; Department of Zoology; Central University of Kerala; Kerala; 671320; India
SM Sehgal Foundation Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation; Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE); Royal Enclave; Srirampura; Bangalore; Karnataka – 560064; India
Natural History Museum; London SW7 5BD; UK; Senckenberg Dresden; Königsbrücker Landstraße 159; 01109 Dresden; Germany; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna St; Wolverhampton WV1 1LY; UK
State Forest Training Institute; Kerala Forest Department; Arippa; Kollam; Kerala – 691310; India
Centre for Research in Emerging Tropical Diseases; Department of Zoology; University of Calicut; Thenhipalam; Kerala; 673635; India; Aranyakam Nature Foundation; Kochi; Kerala; 682037; India
Reptilia identification key Palghat (= Palakkad) Gap shieldtail snakes taxonomy


The shieldtail snake Rhinophis fergusonianus Boulenger, 1896 was previously known only from the holotype specimen collected approximately 130 years ago from an imprecise Indian locality (Cardamom Hills). We report the rediscovery of this species from four localities, from low-elevation hills on both sides of the Palghat Gap in the southern part of the Western Ghats of peninsular India. We document new specimens of R. fergusonianus and provide a reassessment of the systematics of the species based on external morphology and DNA-sequence data. We also provide a revised key to the identification of Indian species of Rhinophis.



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