An Observation on Fish Predation by Ornate Flying Snake, Chrysopelea ornata Shaw 1802 (Serpentes: Colubridae), from Southern Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India

Gnanaselvan Melvinselvan, Das Nibedita


We firstly describe the fish feeding behavior by a Chrysopelea ornata Shaw, 1802. This species is diurnal and predominantly arboreal, seldom found on the ground. According to literature and published data, their diet mainly comprises of small lizards, geckos and frogs; small birds and bats are also reported to be consumed. The specimen described here was recorded constricting a freshly caught fish [unidentified; presumably a species of barb, Pethia sp. (Actinopterygii: Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae)] on a Millettia pinnata (Fabales: Fabaceae) plant overhanging a stream near Sothuparai Dam (10°08’50’’ N 77°32’36’’ E, elevation 282 m a.s.l.), foothills, eastern slopes of Southern Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, Southern India. The specimen differs from the typical Western Ghat specimens by lacking prominent red or orange vertebral spots or rectangles which lie between the alternate pair of black cross bars.


Chrysopelea ornata; Colubridae; flying snake; India; piscivours; Western Ghats

Full Text:



Boulenger G. A. (1890), The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia, Taylor & Francis, London.

Das I. and De Silva (2005), A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Sri Lanka, New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd.

Futuyma D. J. (1998), «Wherefore and whither the naturalist?» Am. Naturalist, 151, 1 – 6.

Greene H. W. (1993), «Whats good about good natural history», Herpetol. Nat. Hist., 1, 3.

Greene H. W. (1994), «Systematics and Natural History foundations for understanding and conserving biodiversity», Am. Zool., 34, 48 – 56.

Guptha B., Prasad N. V. S., Maddock S. T., and Deepak V. (2015), «First record of Chrysopelea taprobanica from India», Check List, 11, 1523.

Hetherington T. E. (2006), «Oxybelis aeneus Diet», Herpetol. Rev., 37, 94 – 95.

Leong T. M. and Foo S. K. (2009), «Attempted predation on a large gecko by a twin barred tree snake, Chrysopelea pelias», Nature in Singapore, 2, 311 – 316.

Leong T. M. and Lim B. L. (2003), «Noteworthy prey item records of two snakes (Chrysopelea ornata and Macropisthodon flaviceps) from peninsular Malaysia», Hamadryad, 27(2), 266 – 268.

Mori A. (1998), «Prey handling behaviour of three species of homalposine snake: features associated with piscivory and Duvernoy’s glands», J. Herpetol., 32, 40 – 50.

Smith M. A. (1943), The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. III. Serpentes, Taylor and Francis, London.

Somaweera R. et al. (2015), «Forgotten records of Chrysopelea taprobanica from India», Zootaxa, 3947(4), 597 – 600.

Theobald W. (1876), Descriptive Catalogue of the reptiles of British India, Thacker Spink and co.

Tweedie M. F. W. (1983), The Snakes of Malaya. 3rd Edition, Singapore national printers Pte. Ltd., Singapore.

Uetz P. et al. (2013), The Reptile Database, URL: http:// (last accessed on June 26, 2015).

Vogel G. (2003), «Unusual food of Ahaetulla cf. prasina — fish hunting by treesnakes?» Litt. Serpentium, 23(4), 163 – – 173.

Wall F. (1921), Ophidia Taprobanica, or the Snakes of Ceylon, Colombo Mus. (H. R. Cottle, govt. Printer), Colombo.

Whitaker R. and Captain A. (2004), Snakes of India: The Field Guide, Draco Books, Chennai.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

You can subscribe to the print or electronic version of the journal on the site of EastView Company. If you have any questions, please write to the email