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Lycodon rufozonatum is a species of snake in the family Colubridae. The species is native to East Asia. It is medium-sized, nocturnal, and is considered non-venomous. Two subspecies are recognised, one of which, L. r. walli, is restricted to the Ryukyu Archipelago.

Lycodon rufozonatum
Dinodon rufozonatum in China 20130628.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Lycodon
L. rufozonatum
Binomial name
Lycodon rufozonatum
(Cantor, 1842)
  • L. r. rufozonatum (Cantor, 1842)
  • L. r. walli Stejneger, 1907
Synonyms [1]



The subspecific name, walli, is in honor of British herpetologist Frank Wall.[2] Lycodon comes from Greek words lykos (wolf) and odon (tooth).


Lycodon rufozonatum typically grows to a total length (including tail) of around 70 centimetres (28 in), reaching up to 130 cm (51 in) in extreme cases.[3] The head is long and relatively flat, and somewhat separate from the neck. The medium-sized eyes bulge slightly and have vertical pupils. The ventral scales have a strong keel, while the dorsal scales are only faintly keeled; the scale count is typically 17:17:15, but can be up to 21:19:17.[3]

Geographic rangeEdit

Lycodon rufozonatum is found across a large part of East Asia, from the Korean Peninsula in the north (and extending just into easternmost Russia) to northern Laos and Vietnam in the south; the bulk of its range in found in eastern China.[3] The continental populations are all placed in the nominate subspecies (L. r. rufozonatum); a second subspecies, L. r. walli, is found in the Ryukyu Archipelago of southern Japan.[4]

Behaviour and ecologyEdit

Lycodon rufozonatum lives in a wide variety of habitats; it can be found from near sea level to as high as 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), and is most common near river plains.[3] It is usually found on the ground, but is occasionally seen swimming in streams.[3] It is nocturnal, feeding on fish, frogs, lizards, snakes and young birds.[3] D. rufozonatum has a generally mild disposition, curling into a spherical mass with the head hidden when approached. Individuals can, however, be unpredictable, and some will bite readily.[3] There are very few clinical reports on the toxinology of D. rufozonatum bites, but the species appears to be non-venomous.[3] L. rufozonatum can harbour tapeworms of the genus Spirometra, and the consumption of raw meat from D. rufozonatum has led to cases of human sparganosis in Korea and Japan.[5]

Taxonomic historyEdit

The species was first described as "Lycodon rufo-zonatus " by Theodore Edward Cantor in an 1842 paper on the fauna of "Chusan" (Zhoushan, China) in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History.[6] Cantor included it among the "innocuous" (not venomous) species, and described it as "Brown, with numerous transversal crimson bands; the abdominal surface pearl-coloured, spotted with black on the tail".[6]

Common namesEdit

L. rufozonatum is known by several common names, including "Asian king snake",[7] "banded red snake", "red banded krait", "red banded odd-toothed snake" and "red-banded snake".[3]


  1. ^ Uetz, Peter; Hallermann, Jakob. "Lycodon rufozonatum (Cantor, 1842)". The Reptile Database. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Dinodon rufozonatus walli, p. 279).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dinodon rufozonatum". Clinical Toxinology Resources. University of Adelaide. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Ananjeva, Natalia B. (2006). "Red-banded snake Dinodon rufozonatum (Cantor, 1840)". The Reptiles of Northern Eurasia: Taxonomic Diversity, Distribution, Conservation Status. Series faunistica. 47. Pensoft Publishers. p. 141. ISBN 9789546422699.
  5. ^ Cook, Gordon Charles; Zumla, Alimuddin (2009). Manson's Tropical Diseases (22nd ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 1662. ISBN 9781416044703.
  6. ^ a b Cantor, Theodore Edward (1842). "General features of Chusan, with remarks on the flora and fauna of that island". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 1st series. 9 (59, 60): 361–371, 481–493. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.6704.
  7. ^ Dieckmann,Simon; Norval, Gerrut; Mao, Jean-Jay (2010). "A description of an Asian king snake (Dinodon rufozonatum rufozonatum [Cantor, 1842]) clutch size from central western Taiwan" (PDF). Herpetology Notes. 3: 313–314.

External linksEdit