Thamnosophis lateralis Lateral Water Snake
This species was known as Bibilava laterals at the time of publication of the third edition of Glaw and Vence's field guide.
Anja Community Reserve, Matsiatra region, MadagascarApril 27, 2007
Lateral Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis) Lateral Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis)
Thamnosophis is a group of Madagascar snakes that are similar in appearance and habits to the Thamnophis garter snakes of North America. They are a common group of snakes in Madagascar. My sister had seen two already on our trip, in our two days in the area of Andasibe, but those both slithered off before subjecting themselves to our cameras. The one here was found and captured by a local guide. I settled it down for some photos, then released it back into the stream where it had been found.

The English name "Lateral Water Snake" came from Frank and Ramus's names book, listed for an older classification for this species, Liopholidophis lateralis. It is the only English name I've seen for this species. It seems like an overly lateral, er, literal translation of the Latin name to me.

Here is a list of all the reptiles and frogs I saw on this 2007 trip to Madagascar.

Ranomafana area, Vatovavy region, MadagascarMay 7, 2023
Lateral Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis)
This is the one that got away. I was admiring some long-necked weevils in the bushes and happened to glance down and see this snake near my feet. I leaned over slowly and got this one photo. The other people in our group were a little ways behind me, and I didn't think the snake was going to just hang out waiting for them to arrive, so I made a lunge to grab it but it evaded my grasp and disappeared back into the vegetation from whence it came. I felt especially bad because I had already seen this species and most of the others had not, and I failed in my basic herping skills and duties. Sorry everyone!
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