Many-banded krait

Bungarus multicinctus

The Many-banded krait , also known as the Taiwanese krait or the Chinese krait, is a highly venomous species of elapid snake found in throughout much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia. The species was first described by the scientist Edward Blyth in 1861. This species has two known subspecies, the nominate ''Bungarus multicinctus multicinctus'', and ''Bungarus multicinctus wanghaotingi''. The many-banded krait mostly inhabits marshy areas throughout its geographical distribution, though it does occur in other habitat types.
Two-step Snake During the Vietnam War, American soldiers called this Snake, Two-step Snake as they are highly venomous and that the person bitten are likely to die within 2 steps, however this is not true although this Snake is highly venomous.  They are more known as Many-banded Krait, Bungarus multicinctus. Bungarus multicinctus,Fall,Geotagged,Hong Kong,Venomous,krait,snake,two-step

Appearance

The many-banded krait is a medium to large sized species of snake, averaging 1 to 1.5 m in length, with maximum lengths reaching 1.85 m . Its body is slender and moderately compressed. The scales of this species are smooth and glossy, with a noticeably distinct vertebral ridge. The colour of the snake is black to dark bluish-black with approximately 21-30 white or creamy white cross bands along the entire length of its upper body. More banding is seen in longer than average sized specimens. The tail is short and pointed, that is also black in colour with alternating white cross bands, of which there are 7-11. The belly of the snake is usually white in colour, but could be an off white or creamy white. The head is primarily black in colour, is broad and oval in shape, but flat and slightly distinct from the body. The eyes are small and black in colour. The pupils are black in colour, thus making them hardly noticeable as they blend in with the rest of the eyes. This species has large nostrils. The fangs are small, fixed and are located in the anterior of the upper jaw. Juveniles of this species usually have whitish blotches on the lower side of their heads.
I'm Shy Although this Many-Banded Krait is highly venomous, they are actually very timid.  Saw 2 of them during my night walk at Tai Po Kau Forest Reserve and I wasn't familiar with this Snakes if its venomous or not.
Both Snakes quickly coiled up when I approached for closer pictures and will hide its face/head under its body.

If I had known this Snakes were highly venomous, I wouldn't have approached for this pictures! Bungarus multicinctus,Fall,Geotagged,Hong Kong,Many-banded krait,Tai Po

Naming

Since the species' description by zoologist and pharmacist, Edward Blyth in 1861, ''Bungarus multicinctus'' has been the binomial of the species. The generic name, ''Bungarus'', is a Latinisation of Telegu ''baṅgāru'', "krait." The specific name ''multicinctus'' is derived from the Latin ''multi-'', combining form of ''multus'', "much, many", and Latin ''cinctus'', past participle of ''cingere'', "to encircle" - as in a "band". The full species name thus literally means "banded krait". The common name "krait" is from Hindi , which is perhaps ultimately derived from the Sanskrit word , which means "black".

Distribution

This species is found in throughout the island of Taiwan , in the central and southern regions of mainland China , Hong Kong, Myanmar , Laos, and northern Vietnam. It may also be found in Thailand.


Although it can be found in elevations up to about 1,500 m , they are far more commonly found in humid lowland areas, most often observed in subtropical to marshy regions of its range. They also are frequently found in shrublands, woodlands, agricultural fields, and mangroves, often adjacent to water, such as rivers, streams, rice paddies, and ditches. They may also sometimes be found in villages and suburban areas. It is able to survive in other habitats also.

Behavior

The snake is nocturnal, when it may be more defensive. It is, however, a timid and placid species of snake. In the daytime, it hides under stones or in holes. The snake appears from April and retreats into hibernation in November. It is considered to be more defensive than the Banded krait , thrashing about as it is handled.

Unlike other ''Bungarus'' species, who are primarily snake-eaters, the many-banded krait usually feeds on fish, but it is also preys on other species of snakes, including members of its own species. This species also feeds on rodents, eels, frogs, and occasionally lizards.

Habitat

This species is found in throughout the island of Taiwan , in the central and southern regions of mainland China , Hong Kong, Myanmar , Laos, and northern Vietnam. It may also be found in Thailand.


Although it can be found in elevations up to about 1,500 m , they are far more commonly found in humid lowland areas, most often observed in subtropical to marshy regions of its range. They also are frequently found in shrublands, woodlands, agricultural fields, and mangroves, often adjacent to water, such as rivers, streams, rice paddies, and ditches. They may also sometimes be found in villages and suburban areas. It is able to survive in other habitats also.

Reproduction

There is limited information on the reproductive habits of this snake. Like many elapids, the many-banded kraits are oviparous. Mating occurs between the months of August and September. Females usually deposit 3-15 eggs, although up to 20 eggs can be produced. The eggs are deposited in late spring or early summer, usually in the month of June. Eggs usually hatch about a month and a half later. The hatchlings are around 25 centimetres in length.

Food

The snake is nocturnal, when it may be more defensive. It is, however, a timid and placid species of snake. In the daytime, it hides under stones or in holes. The snake appears from April and retreats into hibernation in November. It is considered to be more defensive than the Banded krait , thrashing about as it is handled.

Unlike other ''Bungarus'' species, who are primarily snake-eaters, the many-banded krait usually feeds on fish, but it is also preys on other species of snakes, including members of its own species. This species also feeds on rodents, eels, frogs, and occasionally lizards.

Defense

The venom of the many-banded krait consists of both pre- and postsynaptic neurotoxins . The average venom yield from specimens kept on snake farms is about 4.6 mg—19.4 mg per bite. The venom is highly toxic with LD50 values of 0.09 mg/kg—0.108 mg/kg SC, 0.113 mg/kg IV and 0.08 mg/kg IP on mice. Based on several LD50 studies, the many-banded krait is among the most venomous land snakes in the world.

α-Bungarotoxin is important for neuromuscular histology, it is known to bind irreversibly to receptors of the neuromuscular junction, and can be labelled with fluorescent proteins such as green fluorescent protein or the rhodamine dye tetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate.

Evolution

The kraits, as they are commonly known, belong to the family Elapidae and the genus ''Bungarus''. The genus is endemic to the continent of Asia. They are morphologically well connected, forming a close-knit and cohesive unit. The genus has 12-13 species who are morphologically distinct from the ''Naja'' genus and the Afro-elapids according to McDowell . McDowell stated ''"species diversity is greatest in Africa, but the Asiatic ''Bungarus'' and ''Ophiophagus'' are each so peculiar in anatomy as to suggest an ancient divergence”''. Others, including Slowinski, believed that the kraits , are part of a clade that clusters with a group including the king cobra and oddly enough, with the African mambas on the most-parsimonious tree or with ''Elapsoidea'' on the maximum-likelihood tree. This result calls into question the monophyly of cobras and underscores the uncertainty of the homology of the hood spreading behavior in cobras and mambas. The relationships of ''Dendroaspis'', ''Ophiophagus'', and ''Bungarus'' differed between the parsimony and likelihood analyses, suggesting that more work is necessary to resolve the relationships of these problematic taxa. McDowell's findings in regard to the sister-group of ''Bungarus'' and the sea snakes family, propose that the kraits might just be a per-mutable clade between the elapidae "palatine-erectors" and the hydrophiinae "palatine draggers". Two genera within the hydrophiinae family in particular, support McDowell's hypothesis. The two genera are ''Salomonelaps'' and ''Loveridgelaps'' due to many shared characteristics. Mao ''et al'' showed that this species, ''Bungarus multicinctus'' was slightly distinct from the other members of its genus and was immunologically more similar to ''Laticauda'', terrestrial Australian elapids, and true sea snakes than it is to ''Elapsoidea sundevalli'' , ''Naja naja'' or two ''Micrurus'' species . Minton , Schwaner ''et al.'' and Cadle & Gorman all suggested similar things to Mao ''et al.'' based on immunological data. The many-banded krait was more similar to the Australian elapids, ''Laticauda'' and true sea snakes than they were to numerous elapids they were compared to.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyElapidae
GenusBungarus
SpeciesB. multicinctus
Photographed in
Hong Kong