Aspidura ceylonensis

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Black-spined snake
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Aspidura
Species: A. ceylonensis
Binomial name
Aspidura ceylonensis
Pyron et al. 2013

Haplocercus ceylonensis - Gunther, 1858 ; Aspidura carinata - Jan, 1862 (fide Smith, 1943) ; Haplocercus ceylonensis — Boulenger, 1893 ; Haplocercus ceylonensis — Wall, 1908 ; Haplocercus ceylonensis — Wall, 1921 ; Haplocercus ceylonensis — Smith 1943 ; Haplocercus ceylonensis — Das, 1996.

Aspidura ceylonensis, commonly black-spined snake and as කුරුන් කරවලා (kurun karawala) or රත් කරවලා (rath karawala) in Sinhala, is a colubird species endemic to Sri Lanka. Until recently, the snake was known as Haplocercus ceylonensis.


A sub-fossorial snake from submontane forests. Restricted to submontane forests and plantations of the Central Highlands, including Pussellawa, Gampola, Hatton, Knuckles Mountain Range, Hopewell Estate, Balangoda, Pundaluoya, Ramboda, Kotagala, Namunukula, Mousakanda, Gammaduwa, and Kotmale, up to abput 1300m of elevation.


Head is long, snout is broadly rounded. Neck indistinct. Slender body with cylindrical short tail. Dorsal side is crimson brown with a black vertebral line, hence given the name. Dorsum of fore body is brown. Laterally with a series of black spots in a line. Neck region is with dark brown marking. Venter is crimson colored. Maximum length recorded is 522mm.


Midbody scale rows 17. Ventrals 162-207. Subcaudals 37-56. Scales are smooth and iridescent.


Nocturnal and terrestrial, it lives in damp soil, silted-up drains, beneath heaps of decaying leaves and similar places where there are earthworms, its primary prey.


Clutches of two to five eggs produced at a time in the months of August to November.


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