Ophisops microlepis ( Blanford 1870 )

Agarwal, Ishan, Khandekar, Akshay, Ramakrishnan, Uma, Vyas, Raju & Giri, Varad B., 2018, Two new species of the Ophisops microlepis (Squamata: Lacertidae) complex from northwestern India with a key to Indian Ophisops, Journal of Natural History 52 (13 - 16), pp. 819-847 : 827-833

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https://doi.org/ 10.1080/00222933.2018.1436203

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Ophisops microlepis ( Blanford 1870 )


Ophisops microlepis ( Blanford 1870)

Small-scaled snake-eye

Figures 3–7 View Figure 3 View Figure 4 View Figure 5 View Figure 6 View Figure 7

Ophiops [ Gymnops ] Microlepis Blanford, 1870: 351–354 , Plate XV.

Holotype. ZSI 2236, ‘ Korba in Bilaspur , the eastern part of Chhatisgarh division, Central Province’ (in Chhattisgarh, central India) ( Figure 3 View Figure 3 ).

Additional material. NCBS AU739–740, adult males, near Chuhiya , Korba District , Chhattisgarh, India [22.48307°N, 82.68985°E; elevation 300 m above sea level, (asl)], collected 4 May 2015; NCBS AU741–742, adult males, NCBS AU743, adult female, near Ksheersagar (23.40423°N, 81.44724°E; 400 m asl), 6 May 2015 and NCBS AU744– 745 adult females, NCBS AU746– 748 adult males, near Tikri (24.16784°N, 81.89611°E; 325 m asl), 7 May 2015; latter two localities in Shahdol District, Madhya Pradesh, India; collected by A GoogleMaps . Khandekar, T . Khichi and I. Agarwal.

Diagnosis. Ophisops microlepis can be distinguished from members of the smallbodied clade of Ophisops by its larger body size (SVL up to 61.5 mm versus SVL <45 mm in O. beddomei , O. jerdonii and O. nictans ), the higher number of scales in a transverse row around midbody (RBS 56–61 versus <35 in O. beddomei , O. jerdonii and O. nictans ) and the higher number of dorsal scales in a longitudinal series (DS> 120 versus <52 in O. beddomei , O. jerdonii and O. nictans ). Ophisops microlepis can be distinguished from the other large-bodied Indian congener, O. leschenaulti by the larger body size of the former (SVL up to 61.5 mm versus SVL ≤ 50 mm), higher number of scales around midbody (56–61 versus 42–50) and the lower eyelid fused with the upper eyelid (versus lower eyelid distinct from upper in O. leschenaulti ). Ophisops microlepis is most closely related to the two new species described herein, and diagnoses against the new species are provided after their descriptions.

Colouration in life (based on additional material examined, Figure 7 View Figure 7 ). Dorsal ground colour dark khaki; two prominent lighter lateral stripes, a dorsolateral stripe extending from behind the eye (indistinct in temporal region) onto the tail, and a ventrolateral stripe that runs from the labials, above the forearm insertion and terminating at the groin. Dorsolateral and ventrolateral stripe buff anteriorly, the former with more rufous near hind limb insertions and on the tail; ventrolateral stripe lightly to heavily speckled between the limbs. Interspaces between stripes heavily mottled with darker and lighter markings, anterodorsal margin of dorsolateral stripe with mainly darker mottling extending up to ~2× width of the dorsolateral line, markings on each side well separated from one another in the vertebral region. Flanks, below ventrolateral stripe, with marbled lighter and darker markings, some enlarged belly scales that extend onto flanks with yellow-green markings. Limbs with scattered, irregular lighter and darker markings, largest and most prominent on femur where lighter spots are enclosed by darker reticulation. Head similar to dorsum in colouration, labials with dark blotches, temporal region with dark markings, iris bronze. Venter immaculate white. Dorsolateral stripes meet on the tail, flanked by narrow darker markings that fade to white on the tail venter.

Colouration in preservative ( Figures 3–5 View Figure 3 View Figure 4 View Figure 5 ). Similar to life colouration, except colours relatively faded and shades of yellow completely lost.

Distribution and natural history. This species was observed by us in flat and mildly undulating sandy habitats along the banks of large rivers with large tussocks of grass and other low vegetation ( Figure 8 View Figure 8 ). We only collected this species from three localities on a single fieldtrip in May 2015. These localities are at elevations of 300–400 m asl on the northeastern edge of the Satpuda and Vindhya Ranges, and are the only confirmed localities for O. microlepis sensu stricto.


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics














Ophisops microlepis ( Blanford 1870 )

Agarwal, Ishan, Khandekar, Akshay, Ramakrishnan, Uma, Vyas, Raju & Giri, Varad B. 2018


Blanford WT 1870: 354