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Aipysurus eydouxii (GRAY, 1849)

IUCN Red List - Aipysurus eydouxii - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Spine-tailed seasnake 
SynonymTomogaster eydouxii GRAY 1849: 59
Thalassophis anguillaeformis SCHMIDT 1852
Thalassophis muraeneformis SCHMIDT 1852
Thalassophis muraenaeformis [sic] SCHMIDT 1852 (fide HALLERMANN 1998)
Aipysurus margaritophorus BLEEKER 1858
Aipysurus eydouxi — SMEDLEY 1931: 54
Aepyurus [sic] eydouxii — SMITH 1943: 445
Aipysurus eydouxii — SMITH 1974: 101
Aipysurus eydouxii — MURPHY, COX & VORIS 1999
Aipysurus eydouxii — COGGER 2000: 702
Aipysurus eydouxii — NGUYEN et al. 2009
Aipysurus eydouxii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 22 
DistributionSouth Chinese Sea,
Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia (Borneo), W Malaysia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Singapore,
Australia (Thursday Island, Torres Strait)

Type locality: Indian Ocean  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.6.86, formerly MNHN. 
DiagnosisDiagnostic characters: Maxillary bone extending forward beyond palatine. Large ventrals, each being at least three times as broad as the adjacent body scales. Scale rows around neck 15–17; scale rows around body 17; 124– 155 ventrals, slightly notched on posterior border. Maxillary teeth behind fangs 7–12 and very small. Colouration: Body brownish or olive green above, paler below, with yellow or pale brown irregular bands, which may expand laterally and break up ventrally. Scales within bands usually with dark margins.

See also Leviton et al. 2014: 500 for another diagnosis and Smith 1974 for a detailed description. 

Synonymy after COGGER 1983. Note that Australian populations are now called Aipysurus mosaicus SANDERS et al. 2012.

Distribution: Boulenger (1896) lists this species for the Philippines but no specimens have been collected to confirm this claim [SANDERS et al. 2012]. Not listed by Zhao 2006 for China.

Habitat: marine and freshwater (Rasmussen et al. 2001).

Diet: feeds almost exclusively on fish eggs. 
EtymologyNamed after Joseph Fortune Theodore Eydoux (1802-1841), a French naturalist who became a naval surgeon (1821). He was a member of the crew of La Bonite,which circumnavigated the globe (1836-1837) just after Charles Darwin returned. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Borczyk B, Paśko Ł, Kusznierz J, Bury S. 2021. Sexual dimorphism and skull size and shape in the highly specialized snake species, Aipysurus eydouxii (Elapidae: Hydrophiinae). PeerJ 9:e11311 - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Gray, J. E. 1849. Catalogue of the specimens of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Edward Newman, London, i-xv; 1-125. - get paper here
  • Hallermann, J. 1998. Annotated catalogue of the type specimens of the herpetological collection in the Zoological Museum of the University of Hamburg. Mitt. hamb. zool. Mus. Inst 95: 197-223.
  • 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
  • Kharin, Vladimir E.; Jakob Hallermann 2009. Annotated catalogue of sea kraits (Laticaudidae) and sea snakes (Hydrophiidae) of the herpetological collection of the Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg. Mitt. hamb. zool. Mus. Inst. 106: 51-67
  • Leviton, A.E., R.M. Brown, and C.D. Siler. 2014. The dangerously venomous snakes of the Philippine Archipelago. in The Coral Triangle: The 2011 Hearst Biodiversity Philippine Expedition (G.C. Williams and T.M. Gosliner, eds.). California Academy of Sciences, USA, Pp 473–530
  • Longman, H. A. 1915. Reptiles from Queensland and the Northern Territory. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 3: 30-34.
  • Murphy,J.C.; Cox,M.J. & Voris,H.K. 1999. A key to the sea snakes in the gulf of Thailand. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 47: 95-108
  • Nguyen, S.V., Ho, C.T. and Nguyen, T.Q. 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 pp.
  • O'Shea,M. 1996. A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea. Independent Publishing, Port Moresby, xii + 239 pp. - get paper here
  • Porter, Robert; Irwin, Steve; Irwin, Terri;Rodrigues, Keith 1997. Records of marine snake species from the Hey-Embley and Mission Rivers, far North Queensland. Herpetofauna (Sydney) 27 (2): 2-7
  • Rasmussen, A. R., M. AULIYA & W. BÖHME 2001. A new species of sea snake genus Hydrophis (Serpentes: Elapidae) from a river in West Kalimantan (Indonesia, Borneo). Herpetologica 57 (1): 23-32 - get paper here
  • RASMUSSEN, ARNE REDSTED; JOHAN ELMBERG, PETER GRAVLUND & IVAN INEICH 2011. Sea snakes (Serpentes: subfamilies Hydrophiinae and Laticaudinae) in Vietnam: a comprehensive checklist and an updated identification key. Zootaxa 2894: 1–20 - get paper here
  • SANDERS, KATE L.; ARNE R. RASMUSSEN, JOHAN ELMBERG, MUMPUNI, MICHAEL GUINEA, PETER BLIAS, MICHAEL S.Y. LEE & BRYAN G. FRY 2012. Aipysurus mosaicus, a new species of egg-eating sea snake (Elapidae: Hydrophiinae), with a redescription of Aipysurus eydouxii (Gray, 1849). Zootaxa 3431: 1–18 - 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
  • Smedley, N. 1931. Notes on some Malaysian snakes. Bull. Raffles Mus. No 5: 49-54
  • 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. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Stuebing, R.B. & INGER, R.F. 1999. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo. Natural history Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu, 254 pp. [corrections in HR 31: 124]. - get paper here
  • Stuebing, R.B. & Voris, H.K. 1990. Relative abundance of marine snakes on the West coast of Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Herpetology 24 (2): 201-202 - get paper here
  • Stuebing, R.B., Inger, R.F. & Lardner, B. 2014. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo, second edition. Natural history Publications (Borneo)
  • Taylor,E.H. 1965. The serpents of Thailand and adjacent waters. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 45 (9): 609-1096 - get paper here
  • Tweedie,M.W.F. 1940. Notes on Malayan reptiles. Bull. Raffles Mus., Singapore 16: 83-87
  • VORIS, HAROLD K. 2017. Diversity of Marine Snakes on Trawling Grounds in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea. Tropical Natural History 17 (2): 65–87 - 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.
  • Weinell, Jeffrey L.; Errol Hooper, Alan E. Leviton, Rafe M. Brown 2019. Illustrated Key to the Snakes of the Philippines. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 66 (1): 1-49 - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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