The dangerously venomous Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus) is widely distributed in Myanmar (Ayeyarwady Division, Kachin State, Magway Division, Mandalay Division, Rakhine State, Yangon Division) and from central and northeastern India through all of Southeast Asia including southern China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Malaysia to western Indonesia (Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan). In Myanmar, this species is found mainly in low-lying regions at elevations from around sea level to around 300 m, although historical records suggest a range up to 2300 m. In Myanmar, most individuals encountered have been found in degraded habitat in the vicinity of villages and agriculture (including paddy). Several have been found in or along streams. Outside Myanmar, this species has been recorded from a wide range of habitat types. These snakes are active at night. (Leviton et al. 2003 and references therein. Masson (1930) reported a western extension of the then known range of B. fasciatus based on a specimen of about 5 feet seen on a road.
Yahya (1986) reported on a specimen he observed and photographed on 20 July1984 for more than an hour. He noted that its bright yellow and black bands were very conspicuous against the grassy background. When approached for photography, the snake would hiss, but did not strike. According to Yahya, the local people reported that this snake was a resident in the area (Nazramohamda, Darbhanga District, Bihar) and sometimes seen with young. Local people reportedly protect this snake as it is believed to bring prosperity to homes in its vicinity. It is also believed that other snakes do not reside in places where the Banded Krait resides.
Rundquist (1986) gave a brief account of what he believed to be the second captive hatching of this species in the United States (likely the result of a mating in the wild).
Dorsal scales in 15 longitudinal rows at midbody; subcaudal scutes undivided throughout; middorsal row of scales (vertebrals) strongly enlarged, as broad as or broader than long; tail end blunt. Distinct vertebral ridge down back formed by neural processes of vertebrae. Ventrals 200-234; subcaudals 23-39. Pattern of black and yellow bands, all of which encircle body. Total recorded length to 2125 mm, but over 1800 mm is said to be rare. (Leviton et al. 2003)
- Leviton, A.E., G.O.U. Wogan, M.S. Koo, G.R. Zug, R.S. Lucas, and J.V. Vindum. 2003. The dangerously venomous snakes of Myanmar: illustrated checklist with keys. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 54(24): 407-462.
- Masson, J. 1930. The distribution of the Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 34: 256-257
- Rundquist, E. 1986. Life history notes. Sepentes: Bungarus fasciatus (banded krait). Herpetological Review 17(1): 20
- Yahya, H.S.A. 1985. Observations on the Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 82(1): 219.
Distribution: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam; Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, S China (incl. Hong Kong, Hainan), NE India (Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh (Chessa – Papum Pare district) [A. Captain, pers. Comm.], Andhra Pradesh), Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Borneo) Laos, Macau; Malaysia (Malaya and East Malaysia); Singapore; Thailand, Vietnam
Type locality: “Bengal, India”; “Mansoor Cottah, Bengal” (fide RUSSELL 1796), at present a seaport ca. 24 km south of Ganjam, Orissa State, SE India.
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Barcode data: Bungarus fasciatus
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Bungarus fasciatus
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The banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) is a species of elapid snake found on the Indian Subcontinent and in Southeast Asia. It is one of the largest kraits, with a maximum length up to 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in).
B. fasciatus is easily identified by its alternate black and yellow crossbands, its triangular body cross section, and the marked vertebral ridge consisting of enlarged vertebral shields along its body. The head is broad and depressed. The eyes are black. It has arrowhead-like yellow markings on its otherwise black head and has yellow lips, lores, chin, and throat.
The longest banded krait measured was 2.25 m (7 ft 5 in) long, but normally the length encountered is 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in).
The snake has an entire anal plate and single subcaudals. The tail is small and ends like a fingertip, generally being one-tenth the length of the snake.
The banded krait occurs in the whole of the Indo-Chinese subregion, the Malaysian peninsula and archipelago, and southern China. The species is common in Assam and Tripura of India and Bangladesh, but becomes progressively uncommon westwards in India.
It has been recorded eastwards from central India through Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and southern China (including Hong Kong), Philippines to Malaysia and the main Indonesian islands of Borneo (Java and Sumatra), as well as Singapore.
In India, it has been recorded from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Northeast India, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. It has recently been recorded from Hassan District in Karnataka, also.
Banded kraits may be seen in a variety of habitats, ranging from forests to agricultural lands. They inhabit termite mounds and rodent holes close to water, and often live near human settlement, especially villages, because of their supply of rodents and water. They prefer the open plains of the countryside.
Banded kraits are shy, not typically seen, and are mainly nocturnal. When harassed, they will usually hide their heads under their coils, and do not generally attempt to bite, though at night they are much more active and widely considered to be more dangerous then.
During the day, they lie up in grass, pits, or drains. The snakes are lethargic and sluggish even under provocation. They are most commonly seen in the rains.
The banded krait feeds mainly on other snakes, but is also known to eat fish, frogs, skinks, and snake eggs. Among the snakes taken by banded kraits are: -
- Chequered keelback Xenochrophis piscator
- Buff-striped keelback Amphiesma stolatum
- Rat snake or dhaman Ptyas mucosus
- Indo-Chinese rat snake Ptyas korros
- Cat snake Boiga trigonata.
The prey is swallowed head first, after it has been rendered inactive by the venom.
Little is known of its breeding habits. In Myanmar, a female has been dug out while incubating a clutch of eight eggs, four of which hatched in May. Young have been recorded to measure 298 to 311 mm on hatching. The snake is believed to become adult in the third year of its life, at an approximate length of 914 mm.
The venom of the banded krait mainly contains neurotoxins (pre- and postsynaptic neurotoxins) with LD50 values of 2.4 mg/kg—3.6 mg/kg SC, 1.289 mg/kg IV and 1.55 mg/kg IP. The quantity of venom delivered averages out at 20–114 mg. Engelmann and Obst (1981) list the venom yield at 114 mg (dry weight). The major clinical effects caused by the venom of this species include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, etc. Severe envenomation can lead to respiratory failure and death may occur due to suffocation. Few authenticated records of human beings having been bitten are available.
A clinical toxicology study gives an untreated mortality rate of 1—10%, which may be because contact with humans is rare and when bites do occur, the rate of envenomation when biting defensively is thought to be very low. Currently, a polyvalent antivenom developed by Alan Van Dyke is available in India.
- Assamese language "Gowala"
- Bengali শাখামুটি sankani, shankhamooti shaanp
- Hindi - ahiraaj saamp
- Indonesian - welang
- Malayalam - vellikkattan
- Marathi - patteri manyar, Agya Manyar, Sataranjya
- Oriya - rana 
- Tamil - kattu viriyan (கட்டுவிரியன்), yennai viriyan, yettadi viriyan
- Telugu - Katla Paamu or bangaru paamu meaning the golden snake: The scientific name of the genus is also derived from the Telugu word bangarum meaning "gold", referring to the yellow rings around its body.
- Tulu - Kadambale
- Thai - ngu sam liam, meaning the triangular snake
- "Clinical Toxinology-Bungarus fasciatus".
- Smith, Malcolm A. Fauna of British India...Vol III - Serpentes, pages 411 to 413
- Daniels, J.C. (2002), Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians pages 134-135.
- Boulenger, George A., (1890), The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma, Reptilia and Batrachia. page 388.
- Srinivasulu, C; D. Venkateshwarlu & M. Seetharamaraju (26 June 2009). "Rediscovery of the Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus (Schneider 1801) (Serpentes: Elapidae) from Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, India". Journal of Threatened Taxa 1 (6): 353–354. doi:10.11609/jott.o1986.353-4. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- Khaire, NeelimKumar (2008) . Snakes of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. Pune: Indian Herpetological Society. p. 40.
- Evans, G.H. (1906):Breeding of the banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) in Burma. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 16:519-520 as mentioned in Daniels, J.C. (2002), Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians References, ser no 28, pg 219.
- Venom and toxin research group. Snake of medical importance: Banded krait. Singapore. ISBN 9971-62-217-3.
- "LD50 menu".
- Engelmann, Wolf-Eberhard (1981). Snakes: Biology, Behavior, and Relationship to Man. Leipzig; English version NY, USA: Leipzig Publishing; English version published by Exeter Books (1982). p. 51. ISBN 0-89673-110-3.
- Davidson, Terence. "IMMEDIATE FIRST AID for bites by Kraits". Snakebites First Aid. University of California, San Diego. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- Boulenger, George A., (1890), The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma, Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor and Francis, London.
- Daniels, J.C. (2002), Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians. BNHS. Oxford University Press. Mumbai.
- Smith, Malcolm A. (1943), The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma including the whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region, Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol I - Loricata and Testudines, Vol II-Sauria, Vol III-Serpentes. Taylor and Francis, London.
- Whitaker, Romulus. (2002), Common Indian Snakes: A Field Guide. Macmillan India Limited, ISBN 0-333-90198-3.