Annotated checklist of the snakes of Bengaluru Urban District, Karnataka, India with notes on their natural history, distribution, and population trends over the last 150 years

Yatin Kalki, Chayant Gonsalves, Daniel B. Wylie, Karthik A. K. Sundaram, Tristan D. Schramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Systematic and thorough studies of snake populations across large areas are rare in the tropics. Bengaluru city in southern India has not had a thorough checklist of snakes in over a century, during which time land-use changes, taxonomic revisions, and fluctuating reptile populations have left the current status of snakes of this region unclear. We combine data from snake rescues, visual encounter surveys, and other reliable records to generate a contemporary checklist of 33 snake species (15 of which are novel) present within the Bengaluru Urban District with comments on their apparent habitat preferences. We also provide evidence and insight on six additional species that have not been recorded but potentially occur within the limits of the district. Compared with the earlier checklist, all but 4 species (Naja naja, Ptyas mucosa, Daboia russelii, and Fowlea piscator) have shown considerable decline within city limits. Additionally, all of India’s “Big Four” medically significant venomous snake species (Naja naja, Bungarus caeruleus, Daboia russelii, and Echis carinatus) are found within the district. Naja naja and Daboia russelii appear to be well-adjusted to urbanization with serious ramifications for human-wildlife conflict and healthcare in the future as the majority of Indian snakebite deaths can be attributed to these two species. The population trajectory of Daboia russelii is of particular interest as it was classified as “not common” in the previous checklist, but it is presently one of the most abundant snake species in the area. Our study provides a new baseline that can be used to monitor ophidian population trends going forward.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-41
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Animal Diversity
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • INHS
  • Habitat change
  • tropics
  • Squamata
  • Southern India
  • Serpentes
  • population trends
  • Ophidiofauna
  • inventory
  • Indian snakes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Annotated checklist of the snakes of Bengaluru Urban District, Karnataka, India with notes on their natural history, distribution, and population trends over the last 150 years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this