Overview

Brief Summary

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setae) were recovered from the digestive systems of several specimens, including FMNH142324 from Ambon (Murphy unpublished; Sanders unpublished).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.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Very little is known about this species (Murphy 2007). Remains of earthworms in stomach contents indicate that this species is not aquatic (J. Murphy, pers. comm. 2009). No specific information exists on the types of habitats the species occurs in.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Murphy, J.

Reviewer/s
Livingstone, S.R., Elfes, C.T., Polidoro, B.A. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
The range of this species appears to be restricted to the eastern Indonesian islands (including Timor Leste). There is very little information on the ecology or life history of this species, although there are indications that based on its diet it may be a terrestrial. The major threats to this species are unknown. There are also doubts about the taxonomic placement of this species. This species is therefore listed as Data Deficient.
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Population

Population
There is little information available on the abundance of this species. This species is considered uncommon in museum collections and is therefore it is considered to be scarce in the wild.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
The major threats to this species are unknown.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
In view of the species wide range, it is possible that it is present within some protected areas, although this requires confirmation. This species may not be a homalopsid and further taxonomic research is required (J. Murphy pers comm. 2009).
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