Acrantophis madagascariensis

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Acrantophis madagascariensis
Madagascar ground boa (Acrantophis madagascariensis) Lokobe.jpg
in Lokobe Strict Reserve, Madagascar
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Genus: Acrantophis
A. madagascariensis
Binomial name
Acrantophis madagascariensis
  • Pelophilus Madagascariense A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1844
  • Boa madagascariensis
    Boulenger, 1893
  • Acrantophis madagascariensis madagascariensis Stull, 1935
  • Acrantophis madagascariensis
    Guibé, 1949
  • Boa madagascariensis
    Kluge, 1991[2]
  • Acrantophis madagascariensis
    Glaw & Vences, 1994
  • Boa madagascariensis
    — McDiarmid, Campbell & Touré, 1999
  • Acrantophis madagascariensis
    — Vences et al., 2001[3]

Acrantophis madagascariensis is a species of boid snake in the subfamily Sanziniinae that is endemic to the island of Madagascar.[4] Its common names include Malagasy ground boa and Madagascar boa.[1]


This species is included in the Boidae family of snakes, subfamily Sanziniinae. No subspecies are currently recognized by ITIS.[5]

Adult females can be up to 10 feet (3.05 metres), males are typically smaller, the average size of the population is 8 feet (2.44 m) in length.[6] This is the largest snake species found on the island of Madagascar. Acrantophis madagascariensis, like others in the family, dispatch their prey by constriction.

The color pattern consists of a pale reddish-brown ground color mixed with gray, overlaid with a pattern dorsal rhombs outlined with black or brown. Sometimes this creates a vague zigzag impression. The sides are patterned a series of black ovoid markings with reddish blotches, often bordered or centered with white.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Endemic to Madagascar.[2] Occurs in the central, northern and western parts of the island.[6] The type locality given is "Madagascar."[2]

Acrantophis madagascariensis (1).jpg

The species usually occurs in sparse, open woodland[6] such as the Madagascar dry deciduous forests.

Conservation status[edit]

Acrantophis madagascariensis is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since 2011. Previously it was classified as Vulnerable (VU) with the following criteria: A1cd (v2.3, 1994).[1] This means that a population reduction of at least 20% has been observed, estimated, inferred or suspected over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat, and based on actual or potential levels of exploitation.[1] The species was last assessed in 2011.[1]

It is also listed as CITES Appendix I, which identifies it as threatened with extinction and recommends a prohibition in international trade except for scientific research.[7]


Current threats include deforestation, human population growth, agricultural and industrial development, and collection for the illegal pet trade.[6]


Shelters in mammal burrows, fallen trees, debris piles and similar sites that offer some protection. Brumation takes place during the cool and dry winter months, usually May though July.[6]


The diet consists of small mammals and birds.


Mating takes place after emerging from brumation. Females may be courted by and copulate with more than one male. Ovoviviparous, females give birth to 4-6 large young after a long gestation period of 4–6 months. Neonates are 19-24 inches (48–61 cm) in length and are already capable of feeding on small rodents and birds.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Raxworthy, C.J.; Randriamahazo, H.; Rakotondrazafy, N.A. & Rakotondravony, H. (2011). "Acrantophis madagascariensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ The Reptile Database.
  4. ^ Glaw, Frank; Vences, Miguel (2007). A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar (3rd ed.). Cologne, Germany: Vences & Glaw Verlags. ISBN 978-3929449037.
  5. ^ "Acrantophis madagascariensis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  7. ^ Acrantophis madagascariensis at CITES and United Nations Environment Programme / World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Accessed 10 July 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families ... , Boidæ, ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Boa madagascariensis, p. 120).
  • Duméril A-M-C, Bibron G. 1844. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire naturelle complète des Reptiles. Tome sixième. Paris: Roret. xii + 609 pp. (Pelophilus madagascariensis, pp. 524–527). (in French).
  • Kluge AG. 1991. "Boine Snake Phylogeny and Research Cycles". Misc. Pub. Museum of Zoology, Univ. of Michigan (178). 1-58. PDF at University of Michigan Library. Accessed 11 July 2008.
  • Vences M, Glaw F. 2003. "Phylogeography, systematics and conservation status of boid snakes from Madagascar (Sanzinia and Acrantophis)". Salamandra, Reinbach 39 (3/4): 181-206. PDF at Miguel Vences. Accessed 29 August 2008.

External links[edit]

Media related to Acrantophis madagascariensis at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Acrantophis madagascariensis at Wikispecies