Dr. Kanishka D.B. Ukuwela

Senior Lecturer

kanishka@as.rjt.ac.lk | kanishkauku@gmail.com


  • PhD in Evolutionary Biology
    University of Adelaide, Australia (2014)
  • B.Sc (Honours) in Zoology
    University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (2007)

Professional Qualifications

  • Certificate course in Teaching in Higher Education

Memberships of Professional Bodies/Associations

Member of the

IUCN Species Survival Commission Sea snake specialist group

IUCN Species Survival Commission Skink specialist group

IUCN Species Survival Commission Amphibian specialist group

Research Interests

  • I am interested in understanding the diversity, origins and patterns and processes of speciation in the South Asian herpetofauna.
  • I use traditional morphology, molecular phylogenetics and population genetics as tools to answer questions in above areas.

Teaching Subjects

  • BIO 1201 – Cell Biology and Biochemistry
  • ZOO 1201 – Invertebrate Diversity
  • ZOO 1303 – Vertebrate Diversity
  • BIO 2201 – Systematic Biology
  • BIO 2203 – Genetics and Evolution
  • BIO 3204 – Bioinformatics

Current Researches and Projects

  • Systematics and Biogeography of the skink fauna of Sri Lanka.
  • Amphibian diversity of Kandyan home garden ecosystems and its environs in central Sri Lanka.

Academic Publication Reviewing

Manuscript Reviewer

  • Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
  • Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Science)
  • Diversity & Distributions
  • Global Ecology and Conservation
  • Herpetotropicos
  • Journal of Biogeography
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B
  • Russian Journal of Herpetology
  • Zootaxa


Indexed Refereed Journals

  • Karunarathna, S., Bauer, A.M. de Silva, A., Surasinghe, T., Somaratna, T., Madawala, M., Gabadage, D., Botejue, M., Henkanaththegedara, S. & Ukuwela, K.D.B. (2019) Description of a new species of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Nilgala Savannah forest, Uva Province of Sri Lanka. Zootaxa, 4545(3): 389-407.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., de Silva, A. & Sanders, K.L. (2017) Further specimens of the mud snake, Gerarda prevostiana (Homalopsidae) from Sri Lanka with insights from molecular phylogenetics. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY, 65: 29-34.
  • de Silva, A., Sandaruwan, W.M.J., Zoysa, H.K.S. & Ukuwela, K.D.B. (2017) An authentic record of Eutropis bibronii (Gray, 1838) (Reptilia: Scincidae) from Sri Lanka. Zootaxa, 4329: 175-182.
  • Razzaque Sarker, M.A., Sanders, K.L., Ukuwela, K.D.B. & Jamam, F.J. (2017) Sea Snakes of Bangladesh: A Preliminary Survey of Cox’s Bazar District With Notes on Diet, Reproduction, and Conservation Status. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 12: 384-393.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., Lee, M.S.Y., Rasmussen, A.R., de Silva, A. & Sanders, K.L. (2017) Biogeographic origins of the viviparous sea snake assemblage (Elapidae) of the Indian Ocean. Ceylon Journal of Science 46 (Special Issue): 101-110. (DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjs.v46i5.7457)
  • Jayawardena, B., Senevirathne, G., Wijayathilaka, N., Ukuwela, K., Manamendra-Arachchi, K. & Megaskumbura, M. (2017) Species boundaries, biogeography and evolutionarily significant units in dwarf toads: Duttaphrynus scaber and D. atukoralei (Bufonidae: Adenominae) Ceylon Journal of Science, 46: 79-87. (DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjs.v46i5.7455)
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., Lee, M.S.Y., Rasmussen, A.R., De Silva, A., Mumpuni, Fry, B.G., Ghezellou, P., Rezaie-Atagholipour,M. & Sanders, K.L. (2016) Evaluating the drivers of Indo-Pacific biodiversity: speciation and dispersal of sea snakes (Elapidae: Hydrophiinae). Journal of Biogeography, 43: 243-255. (DOI:10.1111/jbi.12636)
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., De Silva, A., Mumpuni, Fry, B.G. & Sanders, K.L. (2014) Multi-locus phylogeography of the sea snake Hydrophis curtus reveals historical vicariance and cryptic speciation. Zoologica Scripta, 43: 472-484.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., De Silva, A., Mumpuni, Fry, B.G., Lee, M.SY. & Sanders, K.L. (2013) Molecular evidence that the deadliest sea snake Enhydrina schistosa (Elapidae: Hydrophiinae) consists of two convergent species. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 66: 262-269.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., Sanders, K.L. & Fry, B.G. (2012) Hydrophis donaldi (Elapidae, Hydrophiinae), a highly distinctive new species of sea snake from northern Australia. Zootaxa, 3201: 45-57.
  • Asela, M.D.C., Ukuwela, K.D.B., Bandra, I.N., Kandambi, H.K.D., Surasinghe, T.D. & Karunarathna, D.M.S.S. (2012) Natural History and current distribution patterns of Calotes liolepis Boulenger, 1885 (Reptilia: Agamidae: Draconinae) in Sri Lanka. Herpetotropicos, 8(1-2): 39-47.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B.& Dawundasekara, N.P.K. (2012) Colour variations, Sexual dimorphism and Population structure of Aspidura trachyprocta (Serpentes:Cloubridae) in an anthropogenic habitat in Sri Lanka. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 19(1): 70-74.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B. & Ranawana, K.B. (2011) The presence of Polypedates cruciger tadpoles reduces the growth of Duttaphrynus melanostictus tadpoles under laboratory conditions. Herpetology Notes, 4(1): 155-158.
  • De Silva, A., Sivaruban, A., Ukuwela, K.D.B., Rasmussen, A.R. & Sanders, K.L. (2011) First record of a sea snake (Lapemis curtus) feeding on a Gastropod.Herpetology Notes, 4(2): 373-375.
  • De Silva, A., Ukuwela, K.D.B., Sivaruban, A. & Sanders, K.L. (2011) Preliminary observations on the reproductive biology of six species of Sri Lankan sea snakes (Elapidae: Hydrophiinae). Salamandra, 47(4): 193-198.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., Silva, E.I.L & Athukorala, N.P. (2010) The tadpole of Ramanella palamata (Anura: Microhylidae), a frog endemic to Sri Lanka. Zootaxa, 2628: 63-65.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B. (2009) Description of the tadpole of Hylarana aurantiaca  (Anura: Ranidae) from Sri Lanka. Zootaxa, 2016: 67-68.
  • Nayana Pradeep D.M.K & Ukuwela, K.D.B. (2009) A survey on the Amphibians of Ambagamuwa, a tropical midland wet location in Sri Lanka. Herpetology Notes, 2: 81-85.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B. & I.N. Bandara (2009) First description of the tadpole of Lankanectes corrugatus (Peters, 1864) (Anura: Nyctibatrachidae) from Sri Lanka. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 16(3): 213-216.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B. (2009) Life history traits of three Sri Lankan Scincidae with special reference to the oviposition seasonality of Lankascincus fallax. Hamadryad, 34(1): 171-174.
  • Somaweera, R., Ukuwela, K. & Alagoda, T. (2006). A Note on specimens of Gerarda prevostiana (Colubridae: Serpentes) Collected from Sri Lanka. Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Sciences), 35(1): 91-93.
  • Ukuwela, K. & Nayana Pradeep, D.M. (2004). Reptile diversity of Ambagamuwa, in the Midcountry wet zone of Sri Lanka. Lyriocephalus Special Issue. 5(1&2): 103-110.
  • Somaweera, R. & Ukuwela, K. (2004). A Comparison of Amphibian diversity in Kandyan Home Garden Agro-ecosystems of Central Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the Fourth World Congress of HerpetologyLyriocephalus Special Issue. 5(1&2): 52-54.
  • Somawera, R.K. & Ukuwela, K. (2000). The Amphibian fauna of Menikdena Archaelogical Reserve and Arboretum, Sri Lanka. Lyriocephalus, 4(1&2): 110-115.


  • de Silva, A & Ukuwela, K. (2017) A NATURALIST’S GUIDE TO THE REPTILES OF SRI LANKA. John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd. Oxford, UK.