Lycodryas citrinus (Domergue, 1995)
Lycodyas citrinus is found in dry forests in western Madagascar, most notably Beroboka, Kirindy, Namoroka, and Tsingy de Bemaraha.
Morphology & Colouration:
Lycodryas citrinus is a long, thin tree snake, reaching a maximum total length of around 70 cm. The body is characterised by 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody, 239-254 ventrals, 111-126 undivided or partly divided subcaudals, 8 supralabial scales, one loreal, and a divided anal scale.
This species is undoubtedly Madagascar’s most bright and distinctive snake species, unable to be confused with any other species. The body is a vibrant yellow, with 50-58 dark crossbands.
Like all members of the genus Lycodryas, L. citrinus is arboreal and nocturnal, and feeds mostly on small vertebrates, potentially including frogs, lizards, and possibly young birds.
One female in captivity gave birth to two 18-20 cm long young in the Malagasy rainy season (December) (Vences et al. 1998).
Lycodryas citrinus is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It has a limited distribution (<7000 square kilometres), is suffering from habitat reduction, and is being collected for the pet trade.
Systematics and Taxonomy:
Lycodryas citrinus was transferred to the genus Lycodryas from Stenophis by Nagy, Glaw & Vences, 2010 on the basis of its genetic affinities. It is most closely related to an undescribed Lycodryas species from northeastern Madagascar (Marojejy).
Nagy, Z.T., F. Glaw & M. Vences (2010) Systematics of the snake genera Stenophis and Lycodryas from Madagascar and the Comoros. Zoologica Scripta 39(5):426-435
Vences, M., F. Glaw & W.B. Love (1998) Live bearing in the snake Stenophis citrinus from Madagascar. British Herpetological Society Bulletin 64:13-14