Dendrelaphis inornatus timorensis (Smith, 1927)

Kaiser, Hinrich, Carvalho, Venancio Lopes, Ceballos, Jester, Freed, Paul, Heacox, Scott, Lester, Barbara, Richards, Stephen J., Trainor, Colin R., Sanchez, Caitlin & O'Shea, Mark, 2011, The herpetofauna of Timor-Leste: a first report, ZooKeys 109, pp. 19-86 : 44-45

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scientific name

Dendrelaphis inornatus timorensis (Smith, 1927)


Dendrelaphis inornatus timorensis (Smith, 1927) Fig. 22 View Figure 22

Common names.

(E) Timor Bronzeback, Timor Treesnake. *(T) Samea kotuk kór kafé (samea = snake, kotuk = back, kór kafé = brown).


Bronzebacks are slender, diurnal snakes capable of rapid arboreal locomotion that may confuse the eye. The Timor bronzeback is brown above and with a greenish cream venter ( Fig. 22 View Figure 22 Upper). A narrow black stripe separates the dorsum of the head from the paler labial scales of the mouth ( Fig. 22 View Figure 22 Lower). When threatened, bronzebacks may inflate their neck, exposing the blue interstitial skin between their scales and making themselves look larger and more threatening to potential attackers. Identification and comparison with the widespread common bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus was made in accordance with How et al. (1996) and David and Vogel (1996) and was verified by Gernot Vogel. The taxonomy of Dendrelaphis inornatus is currently undergoing a re-evaluation by Vogel and Jan van Rooijen (Gernot Vogel, pers. comm.).

Collection and natural history.

We collected three specimens of this subspecies (one adult, two juveniles). Two were found at night in a resting position in shrubs or bushes no higher than 2 m off the ground. These sleeping snakes became alert once illuminated by our flashlights, and they attempted to escape thereafter. The third specimen was observed while it travelled through the leaf litter in dry coastal forest. A fourth specimen was seen in the proximity of the third, but on the trunk of the tree. When pursued, this snake rapidly ascended the trunk and disappeared in the foliage.