Reptiles and Amphibians of Bangkok

Central Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Khasi Hills Keelback

Amphiesma khasiense

This species is found in Thailand, but not within Bangkok itself

Khasi Hills Keelback amphiesma khasiense Chiang Mai Doi Suthep Thailand
Khasi Hills Keelback found active in a steam in morning in Chiang Mai Province
Khasi Hills Keelback amphiesma khasiense
Close-up of Khasi Hills Keelback
Khasi Hills Keelback amphiesma khasiense
Khasi Hills Keelback head shot
Khasi Hills Keelback amphiesma khasiense
Khasi Hills Keelback from above

English name: Khasi Hills Keelback
Scientific name: Amphiesma khasiense
Thai name: Ngu Lai-sab Khasi

Description: To 60cm long. Body is slender and dorsal scales are keeled. Color is dark brown with a somewhat faint reddish-brown stripe on each side. Regular narrow dark bands also appear on most of the body, fading out near the head and tail. Head has distinct white barring on the upper “lips”, the supralabial scales just above the mouth. Underside is white with small brown spots.

Similar Species: Malayan Mountain Keelback is found only in southern Thailand and Malaysia.

Habitat: Found in mountain forest streams at 800m-1400m elevation.

Contribution to the ecosystem: The Khasi Hills Keelback helps control frog, toad, and insect populations. They in turn are eaten by larger snakes and birds.

Danger to humans: This species is not known to be dangerous to humans, but may bite if handled.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats over its broader range, though it is limited to a fairly narrow higher-elevation habitat profile.

Interesting facts: The Khasi Hills Keelback was a species once only known from a few remote hill locations in Northeast India, but was eventually found to be spread across China, Myanmar, and Laos as well. In 2009, Pauwels et al. published their findings that specimens in northern Thailand formerly referred to as the similar-looking Malayan Mountain Keelbacks (Amphiesma inas), were actually Khasi Hills Keelbacks. The species now known to inhabit many mountains in northern Thailand, while Malayan Mountain Keelbacks are restricted to southern Thailand and Malaysia.

Amphiesma khasiense, de Khasi Hills Keelback
Wikipedia: Amphiesma khasiense
On the occurrence of Amphiesma khasiense in Thailand

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