Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 21st, 2015, 8:26 pm

Hi all,

a friend of mine took this photo in Halmahera (Indonesia, just west of New Guinea), and we're all stumped about the ID. The snake was about a meter (yard) long. Any ideas what it could be?

Thanks very much in advance!

Hans

Image

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Ruxs » September 21st, 2015, 10:13 pm

Is Halmahera east of the Wallace Line? If not it could be one of the various Indonesian subspecies of Boiga dendrophila. Pic isn't very good...

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 21st, 2015, 10:29 pm

Ruxs wrote:Is Halmahera east of the Wallace Line?
Yes. See http://www.starfish.ch/dive/Wallacea.html
If not it could be one of the various Indonesian subspecies of Boiga dendrophila.

That was my first thought as well ....
Pic isn't very good...
No, it isn't. Ch'ien Lee, the photographer, wrote to me: "We were sitting quietly in a
stakeout for rare birds when it showed up out of the leaf litter a few feet
behind us. Unfortunately I only had my 600mm lens with me so it had to be
photographed with an iphone."

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 21st, 2015, 10:33 pm

Beautiful snake. I love relaxed natural shots of snakes that include habitat detail. Even if they are not perfect in focus, its not a tired, fake pose.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 22nd, 2015, 4:47 am

More info from the photographer:

"Interesting idea on the B. dendrophila, the head looks right. Elevation right at sea level in forest at the edge of mangrove so habitat would be right for that species if it occurs there."
Kelly Mc wrote:Beautiful snake. I love relaxed natural shots of snakes that include habitat detail. Even if they are not perfect in focus, its not a tired, fake pose.
Very true!

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intermedius
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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by intermedius » September 22nd, 2015, 7:16 am

This snake is Stegonotus batjanensis, a frog-eating Colubrid that is closely related to the Slaty-Grey Snake of Australia and New Guinea. It is endemic to the Maluku Island region of Indonesia (Ambon, Halmahera, Bacan, Morotai, etc) and is characterized by its brilliant yellow speckled head, but they can be more polymorphic if I recall.

A really fascinating find. Several species of snakes on Halmahera are poorly known and almost all of them are found past Wallace's Line.

- Justin

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 22nd, 2015, 7:50 am

intermedius wrote:This snake is Stegonotus batjanensis, a frog-eating Colubrid that is closely related to the Slaty-Grey Snake of Australia and New Guinea. It is endemic to the Maluku Island region of Indonesia (Ambon, Halmahera, Bacan, Morotai, etc) and is characterized by its brilliant yellow speckled head, but they can be more polymorphic if I recall.

A really fascinating find. Several species of snakes on Halmahera are poorly known and almost all of them are found past Wallace's Line.

- Justin

The beautiful head markings are very red carpet! Thanks for the info. Love starting my day off with a new snake to learn about!

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by justinm » September 22nd, 2015, 9:30 am

Hans,

Ch'ien Lee is one of my favorite photographers. That's so awesome that you know him. I'm slightly jealous.


Justin

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by dthor68 » September 22nd, 2015, 9:56 am

There is only one snake with a head pattern like that, that I know of, Stegonotus batjanenses. Boiga does have the same prominent edged backbone. However, their neck is slimmer and the head is larger with large protruding eyes. Regardless, I am very sure that it is not Boiga.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 22nd, 2015, 10:23 am

dthor68 wrote:There is only one snake with a head pattern like that, that I know of, Stegonotus batjanenses. Boiga does have the same prominent edged backbone. However, their neck is slimmer and the head is larger with large protruding eyes. Regardless, I am very sure that it is not Boiga.
Good point about the Boiga features.

Hey just to let you know Thor, the pm I sent you that you wouldn't open, was a simple complement to you, about something quite similar to this here that you posted.
I did finally "get the message" and deleted it from my outbox.

You needn't worry though - it ain't contagious. Haha.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by dthor68 » September 22nd, 2015, 10:41 am

I apologize Kelly, I have no idea what you are talking about. Seriously, I might show up here once a month. The last time I was here I forgot my password and had to set a new one, I saw that I had a message and when I opened it, it was blank. So if you could send it again I will respond. In fact, if you are on facebook you can friend me here https://www.facebook.com/derek.f.thornton. I welcome everyone here. I find it much simpler to post on facebook, still love it here. Again, sorry for missing your PM.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 22nd, 2015, 10:46 am

Its ok. Meaning I guess it hurt my feelings because I really liked your post.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 22nd, 2015, 11:13 am

Its a free country. People don't have to open a message if they don't want to. I expect people to be blunter and just say : dont pm me I think you are weird " I guess I kind of respect that.

I don't mean to derail this post. I'm sorry. My mistake and misunderstanding.

What's more important is:

Natural history and or more input about this cool snake!

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by dthor68 » September 22nd, 2015, 12:41 pm

Dude, why are you turning nothing into something. Do you really thank that I purposely ignored you? If someone sends me a PM I will respond to it, if I am not here to see it than I obviously will not respond. If you know this site well enough to send a PM than I know you have the ability to see how often I am here, which is less than once a month. On top of all that, why did you delete what you sent me? You have to give people some time. Also, there is no one to weird for me to have a conversation with. Again I apologize.

Derek

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 22nd, 2015, 1:08 pm

Huh? No I was just saying I made a mistake. And made a general comment about opening pms.

Subtexts are a hazard to communication. I was cool with what you said.

I deleted my message after like, 5 months. It was a long time. This is all misunderstanding doesn't mean anything.

Bottom line is your input is always great to read. That's what started this silliness.

Peace for sure!

Kelly

Edit
Correction I sent the msg in early June. I am sorry that I mentioned it.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by dthor68 » September 22nd, 2015, 1:39 pm

I would not call it silliness when you got me feeling bad. Is it possible to link the account here with email address so PM will show up as email?

Sorry Hans, I did find a photo of Stegonotus batjanenses here:
http://pages.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/Image ... notus1.jpg
http://pages.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/Image ... notus4.jpg

Also, sorry to Intermedius who already figured it out.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 22nd, 2015, 1:42 pm

I'm sorry!!

I don't know how to link that. I had pmd you about how laser and unpretentious your comments were. Your post was posted June 4 this year. Ok that's it lets drop ok.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 22nd, 2015, 10:31 pm

Hi all,

again, you guys have proven to be the best! Thank you very much indeed, everyone, for your prompt and detailed help! Stegonotus ... now there's a genus that doesn't come to mind easily, haha ....

justinm: Yes, Ch'ien Lee is a genius photographer, naturalist, and educator. And my neighbor :-) For those who might have missed his work, check out his website. Then throw away your camera gear :P

Cheers from west of the Wallace Line!

Hans

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Ruxs » September 23rd, 2015, 10:41 am

Kelly Mc wrote:Beautiful snake. I love relaxed natural shots of snakes that include habitat detail. Even if they are not perfect in focus, its not a tired, fake pose.
I love to catch, photograph, and release snakes in their natural habitat within a short space of time rather than hold them (most of 'them' being hilariously inbred) in tiny enclosures for their entire lives, but that doesn't mean I try to force my ethical agenda upon others all the time. Yes, there is nothing quite like an undisturbed in-situ from which you can learn about their ecology. Can't we just leave it as that?

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 23rd, 2015, 12:00 pm

You assume much, without knowing anything.

My comment seems to have put a pea under your mattress.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Antonsrkn » September 24th, 2015, 4:48 am

Also a big fan of Ch'ien Lee's photography, its some of the absolute best I have seen! Never would have guessed this was one of his pics though haha.

Interesting, always happy to learn of new species and this is certainly something which I have never heard about before.
Ruxs wrote:
Kelly Mc wrote:Beautiful snake. I love relaxed natural shots of snakes that include habitat detail. Even if they are not perfect in focus, its not a tired, fake pose.
I love to catch, photograph, and release snakes in their natural habitat within a short space of time rather than hold them (most of 'them' being hilariously inbred) in tiny enclosures for their entire lives, but that doesn't mean I try to force my ethical agenda upon others all the time. Yes, there is nothing quite like an undisturbed in-situ from which you can learn about their ecology. Can't we just leave it as that?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don't know if something carried over from a previous thread into this one but whats with the defensiveness? Kelly expressed her preference for a certain type of photo and that seems to have gotten under your skin. Glad you're not forcing your ethical agenda on others, but lashing out at other members for their opinions isn't cool either.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 24th, 2015, 4:57 am

Antonsrkn wrote:Also a big fan of Ch'ien Lee's photography, its some of the absolute best I have seen! Never would have guessed this was one of his pics though haha.
I guess even the gods are unable make an iPhone act like a real camera :-)

As for that other thing:

Image

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 24th, 2015, 9:33 pm

Image


:beer:

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 25th, 2015, 6:22 pm

So in case anyone doesn't know about Kanye West's public personality - I roasted myself up there pretty good, in a perhaps unwise moment of over the shoulder satire.

Didn't mean harm, really didn't, and objectively you cant say that Justin isn't adorable at least. It seems to me historically that when a cartoon appears on a thread, its a green light for fun. Sorry again if I upset anyone.

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Kelly Mc » September 27th, 2015, 8:03 am

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:Hi all,

a friend of mine took this photo in Halmahera (Indonesia, just west of New Guinea), and we're all stumped about the ID. The snake was about a meter (yard) long. Any ideas what it could be?

Thanks very much in advance!

Hans

Image
I tried to find more on this snake, one of my original curiosities was if the juveniles are dimorphic in pattern from the adults, and in trying to search that out, and finding no info, I became even more curious about it. I have not seen this snake here before, and this forum has revealed more species to me than any other place.

Is there any data on this snake?

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by intermedius » September 29th, 2015, 1:28 pm

Similar to other members of the genus Stegonotus, they are terrestrial snakes that may live around water sources like streams and ponds in search of amphibian prey. The genus is interesting, because Stegonotus is mainly an Australasian group (most species are found on New Guinea or Australia) but a few species are found east of Wallace's Line on Borneo and the Philippines. Another species also lives on Flores (near Komodo) and another undescribed species lives on Timor. And then there's this snake. It's all fascinating stuff, and many of the species are poorly known and rarely seen.

I remember skimming through "The Snakes of the Moluccas (Maluku), Indonesia. A field guide to the terrestrial and semi-aquatic snakes of the Molucca Islands with identification key" by Ruud De Lang which has several pictures of this snake and might have more info on its natural history, variation, polymorphism and distribution.

Here are some of the resources I found on the species, as well as some papers on the reptiles and amphibians of the Maluku Islands region in general.

Brongersma, L. D. 1948. Frogs and snakes from the Island of Morotai (Moluccas). Zoologische Mededelingen. Leiden 29: 306-310.

de Rooij, N. DE 1917. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Il. Ophidia. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 334 S.

Forcart, L. 1954. Die Taxonomie von Lycodon florensis Rooij und Stegonotus sutteri Forcart (Ophidia, Colubridae). Verh Naturf Ges Basel 65 (1): 7-8.

Gaulke, M. 2010. Höhlenbewohner auf den Philippinen. Reptilia (Münster) 15 (85): 38-45

Koch, A., Arida, E., Riyanto, A., & Böhme, W. (2009). Islands between the realms: a revised checklist of the herpetofauna of the Talaud Archipelago, Indonesia, with a discussion about its biogeographic affinities. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge, 56, 107-129.

Inger, R. F. 1967. A new colubrid snake of the genus Stegonotus from Borneo. Fieldiana: Zoology 51, 77 - 83

McDowell, Samuel B. 1972. The species of Stegonotus (Serpentes, Colubridae) in Papua, New Guinea. Zoologische Mededelingen 47: 6-26

Murphy, J. C., de Lang, R., Gower, D. J., & Sanders, K. L. (2012). The Moluccan short-tailed snakes of the genus Brachyorrhos Kuhl (Squamata: Serpentes: Homalopsidae), and the status of Calamophis Meyer. THE RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY, 60(2), 501-514.

O'Shea,M. 1996. A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea. Independent Publishing, Port Moresby, xii + 239 pp.

O’SHEA, M., Sanchez, C., Kathriner, A., Mecke, S., CARVALHO, V. L., RIBEIRO, A. V., ... & Kaiser, H. (2015). Herpetological Diversity of Timor-Leste: Updates and a Review of Species Distributions. ASIAN HERPETOLOGICAL RESEARCH, 6(2), 73-131.

Setiadi, M. I. & A. Hamidy, 2006. Jenis-Jenis Herpetofauna di Pulau Halmahera. Kerjasama antara Pusat Studi Biodiversitas dan Konservasi Universitas Indonesia dan Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Puslit Biologi Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia.

Hope this helps,

- Justin

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Re: Snake ID please (Halmahera, Indonesia)

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 29th, 2015, 11:23 pm

Wonderful, thanks a lot!

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