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Elaphe taeniura subspp.

Basic information
Scientific name Elaphe taeniura subspp.

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Common names Beauty snake
Higher taxon Colubridae, Ophidia (Serpentia), Squamata, Reptilia
Natural range India, Southeast Asia, continental China, Taiwan, and Sakishima Islands of Japan (Miyakojima, Ikemajima, Okamishima, Irabujima, Shimojishima, Kurimajima, Taramajima, Ishigakijima, Iriomotejima, and Kohamajima). The non-native population on Okinawajima Is. may be the subspecies E. t. friesi, endemic to Taiwan, although an author said that it requires further taxonomic investigation.
Habitat Forest, urban area.
Invasion information
Range in Japan Central part of Okinawajima Island. Range in Japan
Date This species was imported since 1970s, and recorded in the field since late 1970s.
Route Deliberate: Imported for exhibition in zoo and for medicine.
Impact Predation, competition.
Affected organism: Mammals, birds (predation). Snakes (competition).
Spread of this species to northern part of Okinawajima Island could threaten endemic and endangered birds and mammals, such as Gallirallus okinawae, Erithacus komadori namiyei, Diplothrix legata, Tokudaia muenninki, etc.
Regulation in Japan Import, transport and keeping of a subspecies E. t. friesi in Japan are prohibited by the Invasive Alien Species Act. The other subspecies except E. t. schmackeri is designated as an Uncategorized Alien Species, which requires a risk assessment before import to Japan.
Introduced range in other countries
Reference Notes
  • Ecol Soc Jpn (ed) (2002) Handbook of Alien Species in Japan. Chijinshokan, Tokyo (in Jpn)
  • Maenosono & Toda (2007) Distribution of amphibians and terrestrial reptiles in the Ryukyu Archipelago: A review of published records. Akamata. 18, 28-46 (in Jpn)
  • Nagasaka (ed) (1996) Picture Book of Reptiles & Amphibians. Pisces (in Jpn)
  • Ota et al. (2004) Feral population of amphibians and reptiles in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. Global Environmental Research. 8(2):133-143
  • Sengoku et al. (eds) (1996) The Encyclopedia of Animals in Japan 5 Amphibians, Reptiles, Chondrichthyes. Heibonsha, Tokyo (in Jpn)
  • Terada (2011) The distribution, population density and controls of Protobothrops mucrosquamatus, Protobothrops elegans, Elaphe taeniura friesei, 3 snake species established on Okinawa Island. Bull Herpetol Soc Jpn. 2011(2), 161-167 (in Jpn)
  • Utiger et al. (2002) Molecular systematics and phylogeny of old and new world ratsnakes, Elaphe Auct., and related genera (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae). Russian Journal of Herpetology. 9(2):105-124.
E. t. friesi is designated as 100 of the Japan’s Worst Invasive Alien Species

A recent molecular systematic study suggested taxonomic change of classification of genus Elaphe sensu lato. In the revised classification, this species is placed in the genus Orthriophis.