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Coelognathus radiatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA COLUBRIDAE

Scientific Name: Coelognathus radiatus
Species Authority: (Boie, 1827)
Common Name(s):
English Copper-head Trinket Snake, Copperhead Rat Snake, Radiated Ratsnake
Synonym(s):
Coluber radiatus Boie, 1827
Tropidonotus quinque Cantor, 1839
Taxonomic Notes: Coelognathus radiatus was described by Boie in 1827 as Coluber radiatus based on specimens collected from Java, Indonesia. Dr. Patrick Russell's work "Indian Serpentes" published in 1801 also has drawings of this taxa (Smith 1943). This species has been long included under the genus Elaphe (Smith 1943), but following Helfenberger (2001) and Utiger et al. (2005), the Oriental Ratsnakes have been assigned to the genus Coelognathus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2011-08-30
Assessor(s): Nguyen, T.Q., Thy, N., Chan-Ard, T., Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B., Das, A. & Mohapatra, P.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Vyas, R., Mohapatra, P., Achyuthan, N.S., Shankar, G., Kulkarni, N.U. & Thakur, S.
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution and presumed large overall population and, although it is subjected to intensive exploitation in many parts of its range, it remains common in modified habitats and is subject to a number of national protection measures that effectively limit the threat to this species from trade.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs from India across southern China to Hong Kong, then southward through Sumatra and Java to Borneo. It is widespread within this range (Q.T. Nguyen and T. Neang pers. comm. August 2011). It has been recorded between 20 and 1,515 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India (Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Uttaranchal, West Bengal); Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan, Sumatera); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Myanmar; Nepal; Singapore; Thailand; Viet Nam
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is common throughout its range. Although it thrives in human-modified environments, it was formerly more abundant in Indochina than it appears to be now (Q.T. Nguyen and T. Neang pers. comm. August 2011), likely as a result of exploitation. Subpopulations of this nationally protected snake in Thailand are stable or increasing (T. Chan-ard pers. comm. August 2011).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in wet and dry forests, particularly in clearings and edges, and in grasslands, plantations, agricultural fields, and suburban and urban areas. It is often found in rural villages, where it  consumes human commensalist rodents. It breeds throughout the year in warmer parts of its range, and lays 5-15 eggs. It is terrestrial, but climbs well. It is less common in forest than around human habitation and rice fields, as rats and other prey species are found in smaller numbers in natural habitats (T. Neang pers. comm. August 2011).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This snake is collected throughout much of its range for local consumption. The species is traded in reptile shops for food and for medicinal purposes (Stuart 2004; Q.T. Nguyen pers. comm. August 2011). It is often captured for food when encountered opportunistically, although in Cambodia at least there is no organized trade. In Viet Nam, this species and Ptyas korros are the most common snakes found on sale in restaurants, and this species is among the most common used in snake wine (Q.T. Nguyen pers. comm.; Somaweera and Somaweera 2010). This species was historically exported from Thailand in large numbers to supply demand for food in China, but this snake was protected 25 years ago to prohibit this trade (T. Chan-ard pers. comm. August 2011).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no apparent threats to this species. Although it is harvested for food and medicinal purposes, it is abundant and tolerant of human-modified habitats, and is probably not threatened globally by this practice. It may, however, be at risk from overexploitation in Indochina where it is either not protected or protection is not enforced (Q.T. Nguyen and T. Neang pers. comm. August 2011). Due to its association with agricultural areas, including rice fields, it may be exposed to pesticides and other pollutants in the more developed areas within its range (T. Chan-ard, Q.T. Nguyen and T. Neang pers. comm. August 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In India, this snake is included on Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is a protected species in Thailand and Viet Nam, where it is a valuable pest control agent (Q.T. Nguyen and T. Chan-ard pers. comm. August 2011). Protection has not historically been well-enforced in Viet Nam, and this species is listed as Vulnerable in the country's national Red Data Book, a designation which has resulted in improved enforcement of trade restrictions in this snake (Dang et al. 2007; Q.T. Nguyen pers. comm. August 2011). Species-specific protection is recommended elsewhere in its range, e.g. in Cambodia (T. Neang pers. comm. August 2011). The snake is known from many protected areas (Q.T. Nguyen pers. comm. August 2011).

Citation: Nguyen, T.Q., Thy, N., Chan-Ard, T., Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B., Das, A. & Mohapatra, P. 2014. Coelognathus radiatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 13 July 2014.
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