Discriminative histogram taxonomy features for snake species identification

Alex Pappachen James, Bincy Mathews, Sherin Sugathan, Dileep Kumar Raveendran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Incorrect snake identification from the observable visual traits is a major reason for death resulting from snake bites in tropics. So far no automatic classification method has been proposed to distinguish snakes by deciphering the taxonomy features of snake for the two major species of snakes i.e. Elapidae and Viperidae. We identify 38 different taxonomically relevant features to develop the Snake database from 490 sample images of Naja Naja (Spectacled cobra), 193 sample images of Ophiophagus Hannah (King cobra), 88 images of Bungarus caeruleus (Common krait), 304 sample images of Daboia russelii (Russell’s viper), 116 images of Echis carinatus (Saw scaled viper) and 108 images of Hypnale hypnale (Hump Nosed Pit Viper). Results: Snake identification performances with 13 different types of classifiers and 12 attribute elevator demonstrate that 15 out of 38 taxonomically relevant features are enough for snake identification. Interestingly, these features were almost equally distributed from the logical grouping of top, side and body views of snake images, and the features from the bottom view of snakes had the least role in the snake identification. Conclusion: We find that only few of the taxonomically relevant snake features are useful in the process of snake identification. These discriminant features are essential to improve the accuracy of snake identification and classification. The presented study indicate that automated snake identification is useful for practical applications such as in medical diagnosis, conservation studies and surveys by interdisciplinary practitioners with little expertise in snake taxonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalHuman-centric Computing and Information Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Classifiers
  • Feature analysis
  • Snake classification
  • Snake database
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)

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