Bungarus multicinctus


Bungarus multicinctus
Bungarus multicinctus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Bungarus
Species: B. multicinctus
Binomial name
Bungarus multicinctus
Blyth, 1861

The Many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus), also known as the Taiwanese krait or the Chinese krait, is a species of the genus Bungarus found predominantly in mainland China and Taiwan.[1]

Contents

Geographic range and habitat

It is found in Taiwan, mainland China, Burma, Laos and Northern Vietnam.[2][3][1] This species can be found in elevations up to about 1,300 metres (4,300 ft), though they are more commonly found in low areas, especially in shrubland, woodland, agricultural fields and mangroves.[3]

Description

The Many-banded krait is a medium to large-sized snake, averaging about 1 to 1.5 meters (3.3 to 4.9 ft) in length with a maximum of 1.85 meters (6.1 ft).[2] This snake has black with alternating and clear-cut black and white crossbands throughout the body, with the black bands being wider than the white bands. The body has a high vertebral ridge. Juveniles usually have a white mark on their heads.

Scalation

Dorsal scales in 15 rows; ventral scales 200-231 in males, 198-227 in females; tail short and tapering; subcaudal scales single (undivided), 43-54 in males, 37-55 in females.[3]

Behaviour

The snake is nocturnal. In the daytime it hides under stones, or in holes. The snake appears from April and retreats into hibernation in November.[2] The many-banded krait usually feeds on other snakes (for example the water snake or even smaller members of its own species), as well as rodents, eels, frogs and occasionally lizards.[3]

This species is usually timid in nature, especially in the hours of daylight, but is more prone to bite at night-time if provoked or disturbed. Individuals often thrash wildly when caught.[2][3]

Reproduction

These snakes are oviparous. Females deposit 3 to 15 (maximum 20) eggs in around the month of June. Eggs usually hatch about 1 month and a half. Juveniles are usually 0.2—0.27 cm in length.[2]

Venom

The venom of the many-banded krait consists primarily of neurotoxins (known as α-bungarotoxins and β-bungarotoxins, among others). The average venom yield from specimens kept on snake farms is about 4.6 mg[1]—18.4 mg[2] per bite. The venom is highly toxic with LD50 values of 0.09 mg/kg[2]—0.108 mg/kg[4][5] SC, 0.113 mg/kg IV and 0.08 mg/kg IP in mice.[4][5] This is the fourth most venomous snake in the world (Ernst and Zug et al. 1996).[6]

The local symptoms of victims bitten by the Many-banded krait are usually neither serious swelling nor pain, the victims merely feel slightly itchy and numb. Systemic symptoms occur, in general, one to four hours after being bitten by this snake. Symptoms may include discomfort in the chest, general ache, weak feeling in limbs, ataxia, glossolysis, loss of voice, swallowing paralysis, tunnel vision, and difficult breathing. In case of serious bite, suppression of breathing may occur, leading to death.[2]

The untreated mortality rate caused by the bites of this species is reported as 20—30%.[1]

In 2001 a snake of this species was responsible for the death of Joseph Bruno Slowinski.[7]

Gallery

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Clinical Toxinology-Bungarus multicinctus". http://toxinology.com/fusebox.cfm?fuseaction=main.snakes.display&id=SN0023. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Snake of medical importance. Singapore: Venom and toxins research group. ISBN 9971622173. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Venomous Land Snakes,Dr.Willott. Cosmos Books Ltd. ISBN 9882113265. 
  4. ^ a b "LD50". http://www.seanthomas.net/oldsite/ld50tot.html. 
  5. ^ a b "LD50 menu". http://www.kingsnake.com/toxinology/LD50/LD50men.html. 
  6. ^ Zug, George R. (1996). Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book. Washington D.C., USA: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. ISBN 1560986484. 
  7. ^ IN MEMORY OF Joseph B. Slowinski at Natural History Museum
  • Blyth, E. 1861. Proceedings of the Society, Report of the Curator. Journ. Asiatic Soc. Bengal 29(1860):87-115.

External links


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