A Contribution to the Indian Trinket Snake, Coelognathus helena (Daudin, 1803), with the Description of a New Subspecies

Pratyush P. Mohapatra, Klaus-Dieter Schulz, Notker Helfenberger, Sylvia Hofmann, Sushil K. Dutta


We describe and illustrate a new subspecies of the Indian trinket snake, Coelognathus helena (Daudin) from India. The new taxon has long been confused with Coelognathus helena monticollaris (Schulz, 1992), but it differs diagnosable in morphology and geographic distribution. The new subspecies occurs in the northern Eastern Ghats and in the mountains of the central highlands of India. It shows a characteristic color pattern distinct from specimens of other localities where C. helena monticollaris is found. In contrast, the taxonomic status of C. h. monticollaris remains unchanged, although this subspecies also shows considerable variation in color pattern that may warrant taxonomic re-evaluation of it. The distribution and potentially underestimated diversity and zoogeography of the C. helena subspecies complex is discussed. Finally, we provide an identification key for the C. helena subspecies complex.


Squamata; Colubridae; Colubrinae; Coelognathus helena; morphology; Bangladesh; India; Nepal; Sri Lanka; nov. subsp.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2016-23-2-115-144


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