Dorsal scales on a banded krait, Bungarus fasciatus.

In snakes, the dorsal scales are the longitudinal series of plates that encircle the body, but do not include the ventral scales.[1]

When counting dorsal scales, numbers are often given for three points along the body, for example 19:21:17. These numbers correspond to the number of dorsal scales around the body at a head's length behind the head, at midbody and at a head's length before the vent. If only one number is given, it is for the midbody count.[1]

Dorsal scale are easiest to count diagonally, starting with the paraventral scale row.[1] In doing so, it is often noted that certain scale rows are raised, keeled or smooth as opposed to the others.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Campbell JA, Lamar WW (2004). The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. Ithaca and London: Comstock Publishing Associates. 2 volumes. 870 pp. 1,500 plates. ISBN 0-8014-4141-2.
  2. ^ U.S. Navy (1991). Poisonous Snakes of the World. United States Government. New York: Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.