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Dendrophis prasimus.jpg
Dendrelaphis punctulatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Ahaetuliinae
Genus: Dendrelaphis
Boulenger, 1890

>40 recognized species, see article.



Dendrelaphis is a genus of colubrid snakes, distributed from Pakistan, India and southern China to Indonesia, Timor-Leste, the Philippines, Australia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. There are over forty described species. Asian species are known as bronzebacks, while the Australo-Papuan species are simply called treesnakes.

Species in the genus Dendrelaphis[edit]

This list is based on the latest checklist of the snakes of the world [1] and recent revisions and descriptions published in the scientific literature.

A more recent revision of the Australo-Papuan species of Dendrelaphis[2] resulted in the synonymy of D. solomonis within D. calligaster, the elevation of D. keiensis to species status, the resurrection of D. lineolatus from within D. calligaster, and the resurrection of D. macrops and elevation of D. striolatus from within D. punctulatus. The same paper confined D. punctulatus to Australia and D. papuensis to the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea.


Bronzebacks range in total length (body + tail) from 2 feet (0.61 m) to up to 6 feet (1.8 m). All species have slender bodies with a long tail. Males are shorter in length and brighter in coloration; they also tend to be more active. Females are stouter with duller or darker colorations and are less active. Typical coloration includes red, brown or orange on the head with bronze, brown or olive-green running down the length of the back. The underside of the body is usually bright to pale green or yellow. They have big eyes and bright red tongues. The tail is fully prehensile.


Primary prey consists of lizards and frogs but the larger species are capable of taking birds, bats and small rodents. These snakes are entirely nonvenomous.


  1. ^ Wallach V, Williams KL, Boundy J. 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. xxvii + 1209 pp. ISBN 978-1-4822-0847-4.
  2. ^ van Rooijen J, Vogel G, Somaweera R. 2015. A revised taxonomy of the Australo-Papuan species of the colubrid genus Dendrelaphis (Serpentes: Colubridae). Salamandra 51 (1): 33-56.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Dendrelaphis, new genus, p. 339).
  • Boulenger GA. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xi + 382 pp. + Plates I-XX. (Genus Dendrelaphis, p. 87, Figure 7).
  • Gow, David F. (1976). Snakes of Australia. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-14437-0. 
  • Wall F. 1921. Ophidia Taprobanica or the Snakes of Ceylon. Colombo, Ceylon [Sri Lanka]: Colombo Museum. (H.R. Cottle, Government Printer). xxii + 581 pp. (Genus Dendrelaphis, pp. 220–221).

External links[edit]