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A new canopy-dwelling species of Dendrelaphis (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Sinharaja, World Heritage Site, Sri Lanka

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A new species of Dendrelaphis, Dendrelaphis sinharajensis sp. nov. is described, the sixth species of the genus known from Sri Lanka. The new species is readily distinguished from all other congeners by its colour pattern and scalation. The species is a canopy-dweller known only from the Sinharaja World Heritage Site and its vicinity, in the lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka.
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... Four more species are endemic to the wet zones of southwestern India, in the Western Ghats, namely: D. chairecacos (Boie, 1827), D. grandoculis (Boulenger, 1890), D. ashoki and D. girii (see van Rooijen & Vogel, 2008, 2009Vogel & van Rooijen, 2011a,b). While D. tristis, D. schokari (endemic to Sri Lanka) and D. chairecacos belong to the D. tristis group, D. grandoculis plus D. caudolineolatus and D. effrenis (both Sri Lankan) belong to one (phenetic) group (Wickramasinghe 2016, Danushka et al. 2020. The supposedly Sri Lankan endemic species D. oliveri (Taylor, 1950) and also D. ashoki of the Western Ghats, belong to the D. pictus group (Vogel & van Rooijen 2011a;Wickramasinghe 2016), while D. bifrenalis, D. girii and D. wickrorum belong to the D. bifrenalis group (Danushka et al. 2020). ...
... While D. tristis, D. schokari (endemic to Sri Lanka) and D. chairecacos belong to the D. tristis group, D. grandoculis plus D. caudolineolatus and D. effrenis (both Sri Lankan) belong to one (phenetic) group (Wickramasinghe 2016, Danushka et al. 2020. The supposedly Sri Lankan endemic species D. oliveri (Taylor, 1950) and also D. ashoki of the Western Ghats, belong to the D. pictus group (Vogel & van Rooijen 2011a;Wickramasinghe 2016), while D. bifrenalis, D. girii and D. wickrorum belong to the D. bifrenalis group (Danushka et al. 2020). Through the present work, D. bifrenalis too is now added to the Indian snake fauna. ...
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We report for the first time an accurate record of Dendrelaphis bifrenalis (Boulenger, 1890), a colubrid snake thus far considered endemic to Sri Lanka, from southern India. Our data is based on a voucher specimen collected from Shenbagathoppu, Srivilliputhur, Tamil Nadu, India. We also refer a paratype of D. girii from Sirumalai and a voucher specimen previously identified as D. girii from Meghamalai (both from Tamil Nadu, India) to D. bifrenalis. Additionally, based on congruence of diagnostic features, observed but uncollected specimens reported from the Eastern Ghats in Jawadi, Bilgiri and the Tada (or Kambakkam) hills are herein referred to D. bifrenalis. The Indian records of D. bifrenalis available thus far indicate its occurrence in mixed deciduous forests of mid-hills. Our examination of the historical (in 1890s) specimen that formed the sole basis of the record of D. bifrenalis in India, from “Trevandrum, Travancore” in the wet zone of the Western Ghats reveals that it is in fact D. girii. We conclude by drawing parallels in distribution patterns between the Western Ghats-endemic D. girii and the corresponding Sri Lankan wet zone endemic species D. wickrorum, whose description enabled a proper identification of the Sri Lankan and Indian dry zone populations as D. bifrenalis.
... Updates to the knowledge on reptiles are taxonomic revisions by Amarasinghe et al. (2014), Vidanapathirana et al. (2014), Amarasinghe et al. (2015), Batuwita (2016), Batuwita & Udugampala (2016), Pyron et al. (2016), Wickramasinghe (2016), Wickramasinghe et al. (2016), Agarwal et al. (2017), Batuwita & Edirisinghe (2017), , Wickramasinghe et al. (2017a), and Wickramasinghe et al. (2017b). Since the Red List 2012 was compiled, 13 reptiles have been described and added to the species list. ...
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Sri Lanka’s location, historic and geologic isolation from the continental landmass, topography and climate act to shape its biogeography and biodiversity, including conferring a remarkably high level of endemism, given its close proximity to the mainland. The island hosts several ‘point endemic1 species and even monotypic endemic genera. However this irreplaceable biodiversity is now under severe threat because of extensive anthropogenic landuse changes that began over two centuries ago, under colonial rule, and continues to this present date. Due to high levels of endemism, extensive loss and degradation of natural ecosystem, Sri Lanka has been identified as one of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots.
... The body of this cobra is long and cylindrical and can be as long as 1.8 m. The color of the hood and body vary greatly according to the environment that they inhabit [9][10][11]. This snake is commonly seen in the ecosystems of coastal plains and in mountain regions at elevations up to 1500 m [12]. ...
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Abstract: There is limited information on clinical profiles, treatment, and management aspects of Indian cobra (Naja naja) bite envenoming in dogs in Sri Lanka. Dogs with cobra bites presented to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH), University of Peradeniya, were prospectively studied over a period of 72 months; local and systemic clinical manifestations and hematological abnormalities were recorded. We studied 116 cobra bite envenomings in dogs. A grading system was established using a combination of anatomical site of fang marks, as well as local and systemic clinical manifestations. Accordingly, treatment strategies were established using Indian polyvalent antivenom (AVS). Pain and swelling at the bite site were major clinical signs observed, while neurotoxic manifestations (mydriasis,wheezing, and crackles) were detected in most dogs. Leukocytosis was observed in 78% of them. Statistical analysis revealed that the grading scores obtained were compatible to initiate AVS administration according to the severity. The minimum number required was 2 AVS vials (range 2–12). Almost 20% of the dogs developed wheezing, crackles, hypersalivation, restlessness, and dyspnea as adverse reactions to AVS treatment. Necrotic wounds on bitten anatomical sites developed in 19% of the dogs and 2.5% developed acute kidney injuries as a consequence of envenoming crisis. Despite treatment, 3% of dogs died. No dry bites were recorded.
... Sri Lanka is home to 90 species of inland snakes (including all terrestrial, fossorial and freshwater species, but not the true marine or estuarine forms) [1,2]. Of these, six species are considered to be highly or deadly venomous: the spectacled cobra (Naja naja), common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), Ceylon krait (Bungarus ceylonicus), Russell's viper (Daboia russelii), hump-nosed viper (Hypnale spp.), and the saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus) [2]. ...
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Background: Hematological studies of any animal species comprise an important diagnostic method in veterinary medicine and an essential tool for the conservation of species. In Sri Lanka, this essential technique has been ignored in studies of many species including reptiles. The aim of the present work was to establish a reference range of hematological values and morphological characterization of wild spectacled cobras (Naja naja) in Sri Lanka in order to provide a diagnostic tool in the assessment of health condition in reptiles and to diagnose diseases in wild populations. Methods: Blood samples were collected from the ventral caudal vein of 30 wild-caught Naja naja (18 males and 12 females). Hematological analyses were performed using manual standard methods. Results: Several hematological parameters were examined and their mean values were: red blood cell count 0.581 ± 0.035 × 106/μL in males; 0.4950 ± 0.0408 × 106/μL in females; white blood cell count 12.45 ± 1.32 × 103/μL in males; 11.98 ± 1.62 × 103/μL in females; PCV (%) in males was 30.11 ± 1.93 and in females was 23.41 ± 1.67; hemoglobin (g/dL) was 7.6 ± 0.89 in males and 6.62 ± 1.49 in females; plasma protein (g/dL) was 5.11 ± 0.75 in males and 3.25 ± 0.74 in females; whereas cholesterol (mg/mL) was 4.09 ± 0.12 in males and 3.78 ± 0.42 in females. There were no significant differences in hematological parameters between the two genders except for erythrocyte count, thrombocyte count, hematocrit, hemoglobin, plasma protein, percentage of azurophil and heterophil. Intracellular parasites were not found in any of the studied specimens. Conclusion: Hematological and plasma biochemical parameters indicated a difference between geographically isolated populations and some values were significantly different between the two genders. These hematological results provide a reference range for Sri Lankan population of adult Naja naja.
... Sri Lanka is home to 90 species of inland snakes (including all terrestrial, fossorial and freshwater species, but not the true marine or estuarine forms) [1,2]. Of these, six species are considered to be highly or deadly venomous: the spectacled cobra (Naja naja), common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), Ceylon krait (Bungarus ceylonicus), Russell's viper (Daboia russelii), hump-nosed viper (Hypnale spp.), and the saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus) [2]. ...
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To examine the molecular diversity of the venom proteins of the Russell's viper (Daboia russellii russellii) and the Indian cobra (Naja naja) in Sri Lanka, we isolated 38 venom proteins through a combination of anion exchange chromatography followed by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography. From the venom of D. r. russellii we isolated 15 proteins: 5 isozymes of phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)), 4 serine proteases, 2 C-type lectin-like proteins, 2 L-amino acid oxidases, 1 cysteine-rich secretory protein (CRISP), and 1 metalloproteinase. From the venom of N. naja we isolated 23 proteins: 10 isoforms of cytotoxins (CTX), 7 PLA(2) isozymes, 2 muscarinic toxinlike proteins, 2 CRISPs, 1 nerve growth factor, and 1 new thrombin-like serine protease. Most of these proteins contained new amino acid sequences for each species, indicating molecular diversity in venom proteins. The entire amino acid sequences of PLA(2)3 from D. r. russellii and CTX7 from N. naja were determined. Additionally, the polymorphic amino acid residues of PLA(2)3 were preferentially localized on the potential antigenic sites. While 2 types of PLA(2) (N and S types) were found in D. r. russellii (India) and D. r. siamensis (Java), all the PLA(2)s from D. r. siamensis (Burma) were N type, and those from D. r. russellii (Sri Lanka) were primarily S type.
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