Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Striped Bronzeback

Dendrelaphis caudolineatus

This snake is found in Thailand but not in Bangkok
Striped Bronzeback Gray Bronze Tree Snake Dendrelaphis caudolineatus Malaysia
Striped Bronzeback in peninsular Malaysia (© Stephen Wong)

English name: Striped Bronzeback (aka: “Gray Bronzeback”, “Bronze Tree Snake”, “Stripe-tailed Bronzeback Tree Snake”)
Scientific name: Dendrelaphis caudolineatus
Thai name: งูสายม่านแดงหลังลาย (Ngu Sai Man Daeng Lang Lai)

Description: To 142cm long. A slender brown, reddish-brown, or bronze snake with several thin black stripes on the body and a distinct white, beige, yellow, or light green stripe on the flank. Head is bronze above and yellowish below with no eyestripe.

Relevant scale counts: 13 rows of midbody scales. The vertebral scales are not enlarged. 171–185 ventrals and 101–113 subcaudals.

Similar Species: Painted Bronzeback has a black eyestripe and lacks black lines on the dorsum.
Haas’s Bronzeback has a more indistinct light stripe on the flank and lacks the black lines on the dorsum.
Blue Bronzeback and other similar species lack the light stripe on the flank and the black lines on the dorsum.

Range: From southern Thailand through Malaysia to Indonesia.

Habitat: Usually found in low vegetation or small trees in forest, scrubland and partially treed grassland up to 1500m elevation.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Feeds on lizards, frogs, and baby birds. Eaten by birds of prey and larger snakes.

Danger to humans: This species is not dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation issues.

Interesting facts: Striped Bronzebacks demonstrate a degree of “sexual dimorphism”, meaning that there are notable differences in the genders. Males are especially slender, brighter in color, and more active, while females are up to 50% longer, somewhat heftier, duller in color, and less active.

A recent study by Pyron et al. found that Asian Vine Snakes (Ahaetulla), Flying Snakes (Chrysopelea), and Bronzebacks (Dendrelaphis) do not group genetically with the rest of colubrid snakes but actually form their own sub-family “sister” to the rest of colubrids, meaning that they likely diverged together away from other colubrids before any other group in the family. This was surprising in that each of the three groups is rather unique and don’t appear particularly closely related in appearance or behavior, but what they do share are their slender bodies, generally diurnal and arboreal habits, and tendency to favor reptiles and frogs in their diet rather than rodents.

References:
Ecology Asia: Striped Bronzeback
Wikipedia: Dendrelaphis caudolineatus
Reptile Database: Dendrelaphis caudolineatus
Thai National Parks: Striped Bronzeback
A revision of the taxonomy of Dendrelaphis caudolineatus
The more you know about colubrid snakes, the better a person you are
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia

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