'Amphiesma monticola
Amphiesma monticola
Physical description
HabitatFreshwater lakes, rivers and streams
Scientific classification
SpeciesA. monticola
Distribution of speciesIndia.
Common names: hill keelback, Wayanad keelback.

Amphiesma monticola is a harmless colubrid snake species found in 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 scale rows at midbody, 133-144 ventrals. The anal scale is divided, and has 78-92 subcaudals. There are 8 supralabials with 3, 4 and 5 touching the eye. There is one preocular scale.[1]

Description from G. A. Boulenger, The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma: 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 post-oculars; 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. Scales in 19 rows, strongly keeled, the outer row smooth or feebly keeled. Ventrals 134-142; anal divided; subcaudals 80-92. Green above, with black cross bands 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; pre and postoculars and labials 3 to 6, white; lower parts white. Total length 45 cm (18 inches), tail 14 cm (5½ inches).


  1. Whitaker and Captain, 2004

Further readingEdit

  • 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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