Tropidolaemus wagleri (Boie, 1827), Boie, 1827

Teynié, Alexandre, David, Patrick & Ohler, Annemarie, 2010, Note on a collection of Amphibians and Reptiles from Western Sumatra (Indonesia), with the description of a new species of the genus Bufo, Zootaxa 2416, pp. 1-43: 28

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.194395

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Tropidolaemus wagleri (Boie, 1827)


Tropidolaemus wagleri (Boie, 1827)  

( Fig. 7 View FIGURE 7 d, e)

Material examined. MHLCLFE C 206 (female; SVL 422 mm, TaL 72 mm), MHLCLFE C 207 (female; SVL 681 mm, TaL 121 mm), vicinity of Lubuksao, Province of Sumatera Barat, elev. ca 400 m. – Two additional adults and three juvenile specimens were photographed at the same locality but not collected.

Taxonomic comments. Both specimens are typical of Tropidolaemus wagleri   sensu stricto as redefined Vo g e l et al. (2007). Specimen MHLCLFE C 206 still has its juvenile coloration whereas the other one, a large female (ToL 802 mm) has the typical pattern.

Scalation: DSR 25 - 25 - 19 in both specimens; VEN 139 & 141; SC 46 & 52 respectively.

Distribution on Sumatra. Provinces of Aceh, Sumatera Utara, Sumatera Barat, Riau, Jambi, Bengkulu, Sumatera Selatan, and Lampung; also the islands of Bangka and Nias, and Mentawai Archipelago and Riau Archipelago ( David & Vogel, 1996; Vogel et al., 2007). Specimens from Belitung belong to another species, Tropidolaemus subannulatus (Gray, 1842)   as defined in Vogel et al. (2007).

Biology. All specimens were observed at night and during a rainy weather at the limit between primary and secondary forests. Juvenile and subadult specimens were lying on the forest floor whereas adults were perched between 2 and 4 meters above the ground.

In contrast to the usual mild temper of this species, one of the non preserved adult proved to be very aggressive both at day time and at night. This specimen was seemingly in good health and without external parasites.

In the Province of Sumatera Barat, gravid females of this species, fortunately rather common, are much sought after to be sacrificed by local sorcerers during nocturnal prophetic ceremonies. These sorcerers, after having beheaded the snake and skinned it like an eel, “read” in its entrails in exchange of high retributions…Then, these sorcerers sell against a hefty price a “black stone” supposed to have been extracted from the animal and preserved in alcohol, as well as other viscera “aimed to Singapore and other parts of Asia”, according to a sorcerer’s own words. The origin of this stone is unclear but a pebble cleverly introduced by the shaman himself cannot be ruled out. The stone that we could see was clearly a small pebble.