Taxonomic reassessment of two Indian shieldtail snakes in the Uropeltis ceylanicus species group (Reptilia: Uropeltidae)

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S.R. Ganesh
R. Aengals
E. Ramanujam


Uropeltis is the most speciose of all shieldtail snake (uropeltid) genera, particularly in India, and has been bedeviled by a complex and intricate taxonomic history, with several weakly established synonyms and widely disjunct geographic ranges. Our present work on two Indian Uropeltis species revealed greater species diversity than what is currently recognised. We elevate Uropeltis arcticeps madurensis to species level, and revive Silybura shorttii (in the combination Uropeltis shorttii) from the subjective synonymy of U. ceylanicus. We provide differential diagnoses, descriptions of examined material and comparisons with similar species based on an examination of voucher specimens as well as fresh, uncollected topotypes documented in the field.

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