Asst Conservator of forest, Madhya Pradesh Forest Department (Information Technology Wing), Satpura Bhawan, Bhopal (M.P)
Received date: August 18, 2014; Accepted date: September 22, 2014; Published date: September 24, 2014
Citation: Fellows S (2015) Species Diversity of Snakes in Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve. Entomol Ornithol Herpetol 4:136. doi: 10.4172/2161-0983.1000136
Copyright: © 2015 Fellows S. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Visit for more related articles at Entomology, Ornithology & Herpetology: Current Research
Madhya Pradesh (MP), the central Indian state is well-renowned for reptile fauna. In particular, Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve (PBR) regions (Districts Hoshangabad, Betul and Chindwara) of MP comprises a vast range of reptiles, especially herpetofauna yet unexplored from the conservation point of view. Earlier inventory herpetofaunal study conducted in 2005 at MP and Chhattisgarh (CG) reported 6 snake families included 39 species. After this preliminary report, no literature existing regarding snake diversity of this region. This situation incited us to update the snake diversity of PBR regions. From 2010 to 2012, we conducted a detailed field study and recorded 31 species of 6 snake families (Boidae, Colubridae, Elapidae, Typhlopidea, Uropeltidae, and Viperidae) in Hoshanagbad District (Satpura Tiger Reserve) and PBR regions. Besides, we found the occurrence of Boiga forsteni and Coelognatus helena monticollaris (Colubridae), which was not previously reported in PBR region. Among the recorded, 9 species were Lower Risk – least concerned (LR-lc), 20 were of Lower Risk – near threatened (LR-nt), 1 is Endangered (EN) and 1 is vulnerable (VU) according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status. Hence, there is an urgent need for strategies to conserve these rare and threatened snakes in PBR.
Herpetofauna; Species diversity; Check list; Satpura Tiger Reserve (STR); Pachmari Biosphere Reserve (PBR)
There is growing evidence about the rich herpetofaunal diversity of India [1-4]. Herpetofauna includes both reptiles and amphibians. Among the herptofauna reported, reptiles (518 species)  were higher in India as compared to amphibians (314 species) . The government of India has established 18 Biosphere Reserves. Pachmarhi biosphere reserve (PBR) is one among the biodiversity rich in fauna and flora, established on 3rd March 1999. PBR lies in between latitude 20°20 00 to 22°50 00 North and longitude 77°45 00 to 78°56 00 East and encompass total area 4926.28 km2, includes three districts (Hoshangabad, Betul and Chindwara) of Madhya Pradesh (MP). The total area of Hoshangabad district is 5408.23 km2, includes three protected wildlife areas. It includes three wildlife conservation units i.e. Bori Sanctuary, Satpura National Park and Pachmarhi Sanctuary covering the areas 518.00 km2, 524.37 km2 and 461.37 km2 respectively. Satpura Tiger Reserve (STR) lies between the latitude 22° 19’ 28” N to 22° 45’ 30” N and longitude 77° 53’ 48” E to 78°34’ 0” E. The total area of PBR is 4926.28 km2. STR is encompassed of moist deciduous forests. The forest has prominent floral species includes teak, saja, tendu, Harra, Mahua, and Dhawda. There are three clear season found in this region are dry, wet and cold. The cold season starts from November and last up to end of February. It’s followed by hot season which last up to middle of June. The coolest months are December to January and the hottest most are March, April and May. The average rainfall is about 2000 mm per year.
Apart from flora, faunal species such as Tiger, Leopard, Bison, Wild dogs, Bear, Chital, and Sambar Indian Giant Squirrel etc. were found in these forests. This reserve occupies a diverse range of habitats suitable for Herpetofauna, especially for reptiles. Snakes are the one among this reptile fauna frequently found in this reserve and their diversity in this region is poorly understood or not yet totally explored. Earlier study conducted by Kailash Chandra and Pawan  reported the vast herpetofaunal diversity of MP and Chhattisgarh (CG). After this preliminary report, there is no literature available regarding snake diversity in this region. This situation prompted us to conduct the present study to update the species diversity of snakes in the PBR and adjoining regions.
Study area and field survey
The study survey was conducted during 2010 to 2012 in selected habitat of reptiles at Different tehsils of Hoshangabad, Betul and Chindwara district (Figure 1) for the possibility of availability of the species with the help of local communities residing on selected zone of PBR by interviewing and showing different colors photographs of snakes. On the basis of identification by the local communities, check list was prepared as a primary data. The secondary data for this observation were obtained after the examination and careful identification by the MP Forest Department (Figures 2-7).
We recorded 31 species of 6 snake families (Boidae, Colubridae, Elapidae, Typhlopidea, Uropeltidae, and Viperidae) (Table 1) in STR and PBR regions. An earlier study conducted by Kailash Chandra and Pawan  reported only 3 species of 3 snake families include Typhlopidea (R. braminus), Uroleptideae (U. ocellata), and Viperidae (T. gramineous) in the PBR region of Hosangabad. In the present study, we recorded the availability of 3 more snake families includes Boidae, Colubridae, and Elapidae. Besides, we found the occurrence of B. forsteni and C. h. monticollaris (Colubridae) in PBR region. None of the earlier study reported these 2 species in Madhya Pradesh region. Similarly, two studies reported the availability of C. h. monticollaris. A study conducted by Nitin  concluded the new locality of C. h. monticollaris in Vansda National Park, Navsari, Gujarat, India. Subsequently, Bhupathy and Sathishkumar  reported C. h. monticollaris in highest number at Meghamalai area, Western Ghats, India.
|S. No||Family||Zoological Name||English Name||Genus||IUCN status|
|1||Boidae||Eryx johnii(Russell, 1801)||Red Sand Boa||Eryx||LR-lc|
|Gongylopis conicus / Eryx conica(Schneider, 1801)||Common Sand Boa||Gongylophis||LR-nt|
|Python molurus(Linnaeus, 1758)||Indian Rock Python||Python||LR-nt|
|2||Colubridae||Ahaetulla nasutus(Andersson, 1898)||Common Green Whip Snake||Ahaetulla||LR-nt|
|Amphiesma Stolatum(Linnaeus, 1758)||Buff striped keel back
(sita ki laad)
|Argyrogena fasciolata(Shaw, 1802)||Fosicoled Banded Racer||Argyrogena||LR-nt|
|Atretium schistosum(Daudin, 1803)||Olive Keelback Water Snake||Atretium||LR-nt|
|Boiga forsteni(Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)||Forsten's Cat Snake||Boiga||LR-lc|
|Boiga trigonata(Schneider in Bechstein, 1802)||Common Cat Snake||Boiga||LR-lc|
|Coelognatus helena monticollaris(Sculz, 1992)||Montane trinket snake||Coelognathus||VU|
|Dendrelaphis tristis(Daudin, 1803)||Common bronze back tree snake||Dendrelaphis||LR-lc|
|Elephe helena helena(Daudin, 1803)||Common trinket snake||Coelognathus||LR-nt|
|Lycodon aulicus(Linnaeus, 1758)||Common aulicus||Lycodon||LR-lc|
|Lycodon striatus(Shaw, 1802)||Barred Wolf Snake||Lycodon||LR-nt|
|Macropisthodon plumbicolour(Cantor, 1839)||Green Keel Back||Macropisthodon||LR-nt|
|Oligodon arnesis(Shaw, 1802)||Common Kukri Snake||Oligodon||LR-lc|
|Oligodon taeniolatus (Jerdon, 1853)||Russell Kukri Snake||Oligodon||LR-nt|
|Psammophis longifrons(Boulenger, 1890)||Stout sand snake||Psammophis||LR-nt|
|Ptyas mucosus(Linnaeus, 1758)||Rat Snake||Ptyas||LR-nt|
|Sibynophis subpunctatus (Duméril & Bibron, 1854)||Common Satak||Sibynophis||LR-nt|
|Xenochorpis piscator(Schneider, 1799)||Checkered Keelback||Xenochrophis||LR-Ic|
|3||Elapidae||Bungarus caeruleus(Schneider, 1801)||Common Krait||Bungarus||LR-nt|
|Bungarus fasciatus (Schneider, 1801)||Banded Krait||Bungarus||LR-nt|
|Naja naja (Linnaeus, 1758)||Cobra||Naja||LR-nt|
|Naja Naja Kaouthia (Lesson, 1831)||Monocled Cobra||Naja||EN|
|4||Typhlopidea||Ramphotyphlops braminus(Daudin, 1803)||Brahminy worm Snake||Ramphotyphlops||LR-nt|
|Grypotyphlops acutus (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1844)||Beak-nosed Worm Snake||Typhlops||LR-lc|
|5||Uropeltidae||Uropeltis ocellata(Beddome, 1863)||Ocelate Sheild tail||Uropeltis||LR-lc|
|6||Viperidae||Echis carinata(Schneider, 1801)||Saw Scaled Viper||Echis||LR-nt|
|Trimeresurus (Lachesis) gramineous(Shaw, 1802)||Bamboo Pit viper Snake||Trimeresurus||LR-nt|
|Vipera russelli(Shaw & Nodder, 1797)||Russell's viper||Daboia||LR-nt|
Table 1: List of snake species found in STR.
Among the recorded, 9 species (E. johnii, B. forsteni, B. trigonata, D. tristis, L. aulicus, O. arnesis, X. piscator, G. acutus, and U. ocellata) were Lower Risk – least concerned (LR-lc), 20 (G. conicus / E. conica, P. molurus, A. nasutus, A. Stolatum, A. fasciolata, A. schistosum, E. h. helena, L. striatus M. plumbicolour, O. taeniolatus, P. longifrons, P. mucosus, S. subpunctatus, B. caeruleus, B. fasciatus, N. naja, R. braminus, E. carinata, T. gramineous, and V. russelli) were of Lower Risk – near threatened (LR-nt), 1 (N. N. Kaouthia) is Endangered (EN) and 1 (C. h. monticollaris) is vulnerable (VU) according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status (Table 1) and few belongs to rare category that is globally threatened. Hence, there is an urgent need for strategies to conserve these rare and threatened snakes in STR and PBR. Further well planned systematic approaches are needed in future to conserve the herpetofauna in these regions.
We are grateful to IFS officers of MP Forest Department, Shri S.S. Rajput, Shri R.P Singh, (Field Director STR), Shri.S.S Rajpoot, Shri Anil Nagar, Shri Dhirendra Bhargav & my colleagues Shri Advait Advagaonker, David Raju & Prof. Javed Khan (Safia College, Bhopal) for providing necessary facilities and support.