Brachyorrhos albus is known from the eastern Indonesia Islands of Ambon and Seram. It has also been reported from Haruku, Nusa Laut, and Saparua (Kopstein,1926), all satellites of Seram. B. albus has also been reported from the Banda Islands (Boettger, 1892), In addition, one specimen from Pulau Bisa (MZB 2609) is very similar to this species. Diagnosis for B. albus: A distinct preocular scale present; seven upper labials, fourth (rarely 3+4) in the orbit, sixth is the tallest; dorsal scales more lanceolate (elongated and taper posteriorly) than congeners; usually a single temporal scale contacting the postoculars in the Ambon population; two primary temporals in some Seram individuals. The preocular scale will readily distinguish this species from most other members of the genus. About 35% of B. raffrayi have preoculars, but they have the third (rarely 3+4) upper labial in the orbit and the third is the tallest. Some B. wallacei also have a preocular, but they have higher ventral (more than 168) and subcaudal counts in both sexes, and a venter that has diffuse dark pigment.
Natural History: Almost everything known about the biology of species in the genus comes from Brachyorrhos albus. B. albus hides by day beneath stones and logs and becomes active at dusk, in search of prey (Kopstein, 1926). On Seram it was found in lowland secondary forest, plantations and gardens, but also in human habitations at all altitudes. It is nocturnal, terrestrial and occasionally arboreal (Edgar & Lilley, 1993). One Seram specimen was found behind a village shed (DeLang &Verhaart, 2009). Brachyorrhos albus is viviparous, one female (body length 350 mm) from Seram (FMNH 109949) contained four near term embryos (136–147 mm in total length). The remains of annelid worms (including setae) were recovered from the digestive systems of several specimens, including FMNH142324 from Ambon (Murphy unpublished; Sanders unpublished).
- Boettger, O., 1892. Listen von Kriechtieren und Lurchen aus dem tropischen Asien und aus Papuasien. Bericht Offenbacher Vereins Naturkunde, 29–32: 65–164.
- Kopstein, F., 1926. V. Reptilien von der Molukken und den benachbarten Inseln. Zoologische Mededelingen, Leiden, 9: 71–122..
- Murphy, Mumpuni, De Lang, Gower, Sanders. 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.
Habitat and Ecology
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