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Aipysurus apraefrontalis SMITH, 1926

IUCN Red List - Aipysurus apraefrontalis - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Short-nosed Seasnake, Sahul Reef Snake
G: Riff Seeschlange 
SynonymAipysurus apraefrontalis SMITH 1926: 24
Aipysurus apraefrontalis — SMITH 1974: 100
Aipysurus apraefrontalis — COGGER 1983: 242
Aipysurus apraefrontalis — COGGER 2000: 701
Smithsohydrophis apraefrontalis
Aipysurus apraefrontalis — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Aipysurus apraefrontalis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 22 
DistributionTimor Sea; Australia (Western Australia)

Type locality: Ashmore Reefs, Australia  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.1.94, from Ashmore Reefs, Australia. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Prefrontals absent. (Smith 1974)

Description: A moderately large snake, the largest specimen being 1083 mm. Head extremely small. Head shields entire, symmetrical. Rostral wider than high. Nasal in contact with the preocular, supraoculars and fror:tal. Preocular single, much longer than deep; postoculars 2, the lower fused WIth the sIxth or seventh upper labial. Lower labials 6 or 7. Midbody scale rows 17; scales smooth, strongly imbricate. Ventrals 150-160. Subcaudals 18-22. (Smith 1974)

Coloration: Ground colour creamy with 24-27 bluish brown bars on the back which taper rapidly to a point on the flanks. Head brown. (Smith 1974)

Original description: Smith 1926: 24. 

Habitat: marine.

Conservation status: critically endangered

Distribution: see map in Sanders et al. 2015 (Fig. 1). 
  • Cogger, H. G. 1975. The sea snakes of Australia and New Guinea. pp. 59-139 in Dunson, W. (ed. ) The Biology of Sea Snakes. Baltimore: University Park Press
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Kharin, V. E. 1981. A review of sea snakes of the genus Aipysurus (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae). Zoological Zhurnal 60 (2): 257-264
  • Kharin, V.E.; Cheblyukov, V.P. 2006. On a new record of a poorly known and rare sea snake Aipysurus tenuis Lönnberg et Andersson, 1913 (Serpentes: Hydrophiidae) in the waters of Australia. Russian Journal of Marine Biology 32 (3): 194-197. - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • RASMUSSEN, ARNE REDSTED; KATE LAURA SANDERS, MICHAEL L. GUINEA & ANDREW P. AMEY 2014. Sea snakes in Australian waters (Serpentes: subfamilies Hydrophiinae and Laticaudinae)—a review with an updated identification key. Zootaxa 3869 (4): 351–371 - get paper here
  • Sanders KL, Schroeder T, Guinea ML, Rasmussen AR 2015. Molecules and Morphology Reveal Overlooked Populations of Two Presumed Extinct Australian Sea Snakes (Aipysurus: Hydrophiinae). PLoS One 10 (2): e0115679. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115679 - get paper here
  • Shine, Richard; Claire Goiran, Catherine Shilton, Shai Meiri, Gregory P Brown 2019. The life aquatic: an association between habitat type and skin thickness in snakes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, blz136 - get paper here
  • Smith, L. A. 1974. The sea snakes of Western Australia (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae) with a description of a new subspecies. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 3: 93-110 - get paper here
  • Smith, M. A. 1926. Monograph on the Sea Snakes. (Hydrophiidae). London: British Museum, xvii + 130 pp.
  • Udyawer, V., Oxenham, K., Hourston, M., & Heupel, M. 2021. Distribution, fisheries interactions and assessment of threats to Australia’s sea snakes. Report to the National Environmental Science Program, Marine Biodiversity Hub. - get paper here
  • Udyawer, Vinay; Ruchira Somaweera, Charlotte Nitschke, Blanche d’Anastasi, Kate Sanders, Bruce L. Webber, Mathew Hourston, Michelle R. Heupel 2020. Prioritising search effort to locate previously unknown populations of endangered marine reptiles. Glob. Ecol. Conserv. 22: e01013 - 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.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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