Amphiesma stolatum (LINNAEUS, 1758)

Amphiesma stolatum ©Yesitha Rodrigo

There are 41 valid species in Genus Amphiesma around the world and Sri Lanka is home to only one species The Buff striped keelback (Amphiesma stolatum). it’s a very timid non Venomous colubrid. unlike the other semi-aquatic snake for example Fowlea species which usually rapidly strikeout to bite when handled.  Habitat often encountered in close proximity to water around habitats such as paddy fields, wetlands, flooded grasslands, ponds and even in home gardens. Buff striped keelbacks used to be a very common species encountered all though out Sri Lanka about a decade ago. But, in recent years theses snakes have been rather elusive.

Amphiesma stolatum ©Chamod Gunathilake

Geographical distribution Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Southern China.

Description small cylindrical shaped body with keeled coastal scales with large eyes with rounded pupils. Dorsal colouration Olivaceous-light brown with irregular cross-bars with two prominent yellow dorso-lateral strips running from the neck to the tail tip. ventrally pearly white some individuals have scattered black spots anteriorly. two distinct colour morphs are known in the typical morph the overlapping margins of scales are blue-grey to pale blue in the erythrostictus colour morph these margins are replaced with bright vermilion colour.

Amphiesma stolatum ©Chamod Gunathilake
Amphiesma stolatum ©Chamod Gunathilake

Size Largest specimen recorded is from India a female that measured 900mm. females are consistently larger than males males average roughly about 600mm in length.

Diet their diet almost entirely consist of amphibians feeds mainly on (Minervarya agricola) and other frogs and toads. known to feed on fish rarely in captive conditions

Breeding Oviparous gravid females lay clutches of 5-10 eggs on average during May-September. eggs hatch in roughly 60 days depending on the temperature. juveniles when hatched only measure 133-177mm long.







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