Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Blue-necked keelback

Rhabdophis rhodomelas

Heinrich Boie, 1827

In Thai: งูรังแหหลังศร, ngu rang hae lang sorn

Rhabdophis rhodomelas, the blueneck keelback or blue-necked keelback, is a species of snake in the subfamily Natricinae of the family Colubridae. It is found in the Malay Peninsula (southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore), Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysia; Kalimantan, Indonesia), and in the western parts of the Indonesian Archipelago (Sumatra, Java, Bangka Island).

Rhabdophis rhodomelas is an uncommon species known from lowland forest near riparian areas at elevations less than 200 m above sea level. It is oviparous, with fecundity up to 27 eggs.

In the popular book, Fascinating Snakes of South East Asia - An Introduction. By Francis Lim Leong Keng & Monty Lee Tat-Mong. 1989 ISBN 967-73-0045-8. Page 61 There is a photo and short description of this snake. It states that " When disturbed, the Blue-Necked Keelback will rear up and flatten its neck like the Cobra. A whitish discharge, secreted by glands under the skin, oozes onto the blue patch of the neck-the purpose of this phenomenon is still a mystery." After much research we cannot find any further reference to this phenomenon.

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Scientific classification

Rhabdophis rhodomelas

Common names

  • German: Blaunacken-Kielrückennatter
  • English:
    • Blue-necked keelback
    • Blue-neck keelback
  • Thai: งูรังแหหลังศร, ngu rang hae lang sorn


  • Rhabdophis rhodomelas, Hirohiko Takeuchi et al. (2018)
  • Macropisthodon rhodomelas, DE LANG (2017)
  • Macropisthodon rhodomelas, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Macropisthodon rhodomelas, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Macropisthodon rhodomelas, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Macropisthodon rhodomelas, Alice Georgie Cruickshank Grandison (1972)
  • Macropisthodon rhodomelus (sic), Arthur Erwin Brown (1902)
  • Macropisthodon rhodomelas, George Albert Boulenger (1893)
  • Tropidonotus mortoni, William Theobald (1868)
  • Xenodon rhodomelas, Albert Charles Lewis Günther (1858)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Rhabdophis rhodomelas - Narathiwat Province
Rhabdophis rhodomelas - Narathiwat Province

Range Map

Distribution map of Blue-necked keelback, Rhabdophis rhodomelas in Thailand
  • Chanae District, Narathiwat
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Chong
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Waeng District, Narathiwat
Range map of Rhabdophis rhodomelas in Thailand