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Rhinophis microlepis.jpg
Bloody-bellied earth snake, R. sanguineus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Uropeltidae
Genus: Rhinophis
Hemprich, 1820


Common names:Shield tail snakes

Rhinophis is a genus of nonvenomous shield tail snakes found in Sri Lanka and South India. Currently, 19 species (with no subspecies) are recognized in this genus.[2] Of the 19 species, 15 are endemic to Sri Lanka, while 4 are endemic to South India.

Geographic range[edit]

Found mainly in Sri Lanka and also in southern India. In Sri Lanka, this genus also occurs in low plains in the dry zone.[1]


Species[2] Taxon author[2] Common name Geographic range[1]
R. blythii Kelaart, 1853 Blyth's shield tail snake Sri Lanka in the hills of Central (Hatton and Pundluoya), Uva, Sabaragamuwa (Balangoda) and Southern Provinces.
R. dorsimaculatus Deraniyagala, 1941 Polka-dot earth snake[3] Sri Lanka. Known only from the type locality in North Western Province.
R. drummondhayi Wall, 1921 Drummond-Hay's shield tail snake Sri Lanka in the Hills of Central and Uva Provinces (Haldumulla, Nanunukula and Uva Patnas at 1,200 m elevation).
R. erangaviraji Wickramasinghe et. al., 2009 Eranga Viraj's shield tail snake Sri Lanka.
R. fergusonianus Boulenger, 1896 Cardamom Hills shield tail snake Southern India in the Western Ghats: Cardamom Hills, Travancore.
R. goweri Aengals & Ganesh, 2013 Gower's shield tail snake[3] Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu in Bodha Malai Hills of Namakkal district.
R. homolepis (Hemprich, 1820) Trevelyan's shield tail snake[3] Sri Lanka in the Hills of Sabaragamuwa (Ratnapura, Yatiyantota and Balangoda Hills below 900 m), Central and Uva Provinces.
R. lineatus Gower & Maduwage, 2011[4] striped Rhinophis Sri Lanka
R. melanogaster (Gray, 1858) Gray's shield tail snake Sri Lanka
R. oxyrynchusT (Schneider, 1801) Schneider's shield tail snake Sri Lanka in the dry zone of Northern, Central and Eastern Provinces.
R. philippinus (Cuvier, 1829) Peter's shield tail snake Sri Lanka in the Hills of Sabaragamuwa and Central Provinces.
R. phillipsi (Nicholls, 1929) Phillips' shield tail snake Sri Lanka
R. porrectus Wall, 1921 Willey's shield tail snake Sri Lanka. Known only from the type locality in North Western Province.
R. punctatus J.P. Müller, 1832 Müller's shield tail snake Sri Lanka in Central (Kandy, Peradeniya) and Western Provinces (Puttalam).
R. roshanpererai Wickramasinghe et. al., 2017[5] Roshan Perera's shield tail snake Sri Lanka from central hills around Badulla
R. sanguineus Beddome, 1863 Bloody-bellied shield tail snake Southern India in the Western Ghats: Mysore (Koppa, Kalsa), Waynad, Nilgiris, Travancore and Tinnevelly Hills.
R. travancoricus Boulenger, 1893 Travancore shield tail snake Southern India: Travancore, from sea level to an elevation of about 1,200 m in the hills. In Trivandrum, Peermade, Mahendragiri, Ernakulam and Chenganacherry.
R. tricolorata Deraniyagala, 1975 Deraniyagala's shild tail snake Sri Lanka. Known only from the type locality: "vicinity of the rain forest of Sinha Raja to the south west of Ratnapura at an elevation of 1,500 feet with a rainfall of over 200 inches per annum.
R. zigzag Gower & Maduwage, 2011[4] Zigzag shield tail snake Sri Lanka

*) Not including the nominate subspecies.
T) Type species.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c "Rhinophis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 1 September 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  4. ^ a b Gower, D.J.; Mduwage, K. (2011). "Two new species of Rhinophis Hemprich (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from Sri Lanka" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2881: 51–68. 
  5. ^ "A New Species of Rhinophis Hemprich, 1820 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the central hills of Sri Lanka". Zootaxa. Retrieved 18 June 2017. 

External links[edit]

  • Rhinophis at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 1 September 2007.
  • Aengals, R.; S. R. Ganesh 2013. Rhinophis goweri — A New Species of Shieldtail Snake from the Southern Eastern Ghats, India. Russ. J. Herpetol. 20 (1): 61-65.
  • Ganesh, S. R. 2015. Shieldtail snakes (Reptilia: Uropeltidae)– the Darwin's finches of south Indian snake fauna? Manual on Identification and Preparation of Keys of Snakes with Special Reference to their Venomous Nature in India., Govt. Arts College, Ooty, 13-24.
  • Pyron, R. A., Ganesh, S. R., Sayyed, A., Sharma, V., Wallach, V., & Somaweera, R. 2016. A catalogue and systematic overview of the shield-tailed snakes (Serpentes: Uropeltidae). Zoosystema, 38(4), 453-506.