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Acanthophis laevis MACLEAY, 1877

IUCN Red List - Acanthophis laevis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymAcanthophis cerastinus ceramensis GÜNTHER 1863: 58
Acanthophis laevis MACLEAY 1877: 40
Acanthophis antarcticus — BOULENGER 1896 (part.)
Acanthophis antarcticus laevis — WORRELL 1961
Acanthophis antarcticus laevis — KLEMMER 1963
Acanthophis barnetti HOSER 1998
Acanthophis crotalusei HOSER 1998
Acanthophis groenveldi HOSER 2002
Acanthophis macgregori HOSER 2002
Acanthophis yuwoni HOSER 2002
Acanthophis laevis — WÜSTER et al. 2004
Acanthophis ceramensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 4
Acanthophis laevis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 4
Acantophis laevis — PAUL & MENDYK 2021 (in error) 
DistributionPapua New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya, Seram, Tanimbar).

Type locality: Katow, Binaturi River, New Guinea; Macleay speculated that it came from “Hall Sound”.

ceramensis: Indonesia (Seram, Tanimbar); Type locality: “North Ceram” [= N Seram, Maluku, E Indonesia].  
TypesHolotype: AMS (AM) R31932, formerly MAMU R693
Syntypes: BMNH, [ceramensis] 
CommentSynonymy after W. WÜSTER et al. (2004 and pers. comm., 3 Jan 2017). A. ceramensis is a senior synonym of A. laevis but has hardly been used, so it may need to be suppressed by ICZN (W. WÜSTER, pers. comm., 3 Jan 2017). HOSER’s species may be also synonymous to Acanthophis praelongus. Further studies are required to clarify their relationships. Based on the nomenclature rules, the name crotalusei needs to be emended to crotali or crotalusi (fide WÜSTER et al. 2001). A. crotalusei is closely related to or may be a synonym of Acanthophis laevis Macleay 1878 according to WÜSTER (pers. comm.). KAISER et al. rejected all names coined by HOSER in or after 2000.

  • Clegg, Jonathan R. and Merlijn Jocque 2015. The Collection of Snakes Made by Benoît Mys and Jan Swerts in Northern Papua New Guinea in 1982–85. Journal of Herpetology 50 (3): 476-485 [2016] - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1863. Contribution to the herpetology of Ceram. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1863: 58-60 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 1998. Death Adders (Genus Acanthophis): An overview, including descriptions of five new species and one subspecies. Monitor 9 (2): 20-41 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2002. Death adders (genus Acanthophis): an updated overview, including description of 3 new island species and 2 new Australian suspecies. Crocodilian, 4 (1): 5-7, 9-11, 14, 16-22, 24-30. - get paper here
  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
  • KUCH, U. & McGUIRE, J. A. & YUWONO, F. B. 2006. Death adders (Acanthophis laevis complex) from the island of Ambonì. Herpetozoa 19 (1/2): 81-82 - get paper here
  • Macleay, W. 1877. The ophidians of the Chevert Expedition. Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 2: 33-41 (given as 1878 on title page but published in 1877) - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • PAUL, LAURENCE & ROBERT W. MENDYK. 2021. Glow and Behold: Biofluorescence and New Insights on the Tails of Pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae) and Other Snakes. Herpetological Review 52 (2): 221–237. - get paper here
  • Shine R, Spencer CL, Keogh JS 2014. Morphology, Reproduction and Diet in Australian and Papuan Death Adders (Acanthophis, Elapidae). PLoS ONE 9(4): e94216 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Wüster, W., B. Bush, J. S. Keogh, M. O'Shea, and R. Shine 2001. Taxonomic contributions in the "amateur" literature: comments on recent descriptions of new genera and species by Raymond Hoser. Litteratura Serpentium 21 (3): 86-91 - get paper here
  • Wüster, W.; Philippe Golay; David A. Warrell 1999. Synopsis of recent developments in venomous snake systematics, No. 3. Toxicon 37: 1123-1129 - get paper here
  • Wüster, Wolfgang; Alex J. Dumbrell; Chris Hay; Catharine E. Pook; David J. Williams and Bryan Grieg Fry 2004. Snakes across the Strait: trans-Torresian phylogeographic relationships in three genera of Australasian snakes (Serpentes: Elapidae: Acanthophis, Oxyuranus, and Pseudechis). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 33 (3): 1-14 - get paper here
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