Melanophidium bilineatum


Melanophidium bilineatum
Two-lined Black Shieldtail
One of the first photographs of this species taken in the wild.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Uropeltidae
Genus: Melanophidium
Species: M. bilineatum
Binomial name
Melanophidium bilineatum
Beddome, 1870

Two-lined Black Shieldtail or Iridescent Shieldtail, Melanophidium bilineatum is a species of snake found in Wayanad situated in the Western Ghats in South India. This species was known from only from three specimens and very little information is available of it in the wild.

The species was described from specimens obtained by Richard Henry Beddome from near the summit of the Periya peak in Wayanad, at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, and also at a similar elevation on the Tirrhioot peak. (West of Manatoddy according to M. A. Smith 1943)

Illustration published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1875.

The diameter of eye one-fourth the length of the ocular shield, and the ventrals a little broader, twice as broad as the adjacent scales: ventrals 188-200; caudals 15-17. Tail as in the young of Melanophidium punctatum. Iridescent black above and below; the two colours separated by a broad, yellow stripe along scale row 2 and the adjacent halves of rows 1 and 3; it may or may not have a series of small black dots.

Further reading

  • Smith, M.A. 1941. Fauna of British India. Reptilia and Amphibia.
  • Beddome, R. H. 1870 Descriptions of new reptiles from the Madras Presidency. Madras Monthly J. Med. Sci., 2: 169-176 [Reprint.: J. Soc. Bibliogr. Nat. Sci., London, 1 (10): 327-334, 1940]
  • Beddome,R.H. 1886 An account of the earth snakes of the Peninsula of India and Ceylon. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5) 17: 3-33.

External links



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