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Aipysurus laevis LACÉPÈDE, 1804

IUCN Red List - Aipysurus laevis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Olive-brown seasnake 
SynonymAipysurus laevis LACÉPÈDE 1804: 210
Hypotropis jukesii GRAY 1846: 284
Aipysurus laevis — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1326
Aipysurus fuliginosus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1327
Aipysurus laevis — FISCHER 1856: 32
Aipysurus fuliginosus — FISCHER 1856: 32
Aipysurus laevis — WALL 1909: 190
Aipysurus laevis laevis — SMITH 1974: 95
Aipysurus laevis — COGGER 1983: 244
Aipysurus laevis — COGGER 2000: 703
Smithsohydrophis laevis
Aipysurus laevis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 22 
Distributionwaters around Indonesia (Timor), Papua New Guinea, east to New Caledonia, Australia (New South Wales?, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)

Type locality: Locker Is., off Onslow, Western Australia, in 21° 44'S, 114° 46'E., designated by Smith (1974). Neotype locality: near Locker Is., off Onslow, Western Australia, in 21° 44'S, 114° 46'E.  
TypesNeotype: WAM R22384, designated by Smith (1974). Original holotype in MNHN, now lost, from Australia, collected by F. Péron & C. Lesueur (M. Smith, 1926; L. Smith, 1974).
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.9.53, from near Darnley Is., Torres Strait (as near Darnley Islands, Port Essington), Qld. [Hypotropis jukesii].
Holotype: MNHP 639, from New Caledonia [Aipysurus fuliginosus]. 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS (genus). Maxillary bone extends forward beyond palatine, as long as or longer than ectoptergyoid; 5–11 maxillary teeth behind front fangs; nostrils superior, nasal scales in contact with one another; head scales variable, either whole or broken into smaller scales; body scales imbricate, in 17–15 rows around body; ventrals large, 1 3 to 1 2 width of body, scales usually with medial keel, best developed posteriorly. (Modified after Smith 1926:13, Leviton et al. 2014)

Diagnosis: The species laevis is distinguished by 21 or 23 (rarely 19) scale rows and the presence of a loreal. For diagnosis of subspecies see under next taxon. (Smith 1974)

Description: The most massive member of the genus, maximum length: males 777 mm (subad.); females 1703 mm. Maximum girth: males 102 mm (subad.); females 225 mm. Head shields irregularly divided but generally retaining their colubroid outline.
Rostral wider than high. Nasals entire separated from 1 or 2 (rarely 3) preoculars by a loreal. Postoculars 2 or 3. Prefrontals 2 (in 86% of specimens), 3 or 4 (see comments under variation). Frontal rarely entire, usually divided asymqletrically into 3 or 4 pieces. Supraoculars transversely divided into two. Parietals always divided, their boundary indistinct. Anterior temporals usually 3. Upper labials 8-10 (9 in 74% of specimens); usually the first 3 (but up to the first 5) small owing to horizontal division; fourth to sixth entering orbit. Lower labials 7-9 (usually 8). One or two pairs of chin shields prominent; anterior pair sometimes, posterior pair always separated by one or two small scales.
Midbody scale rows 21 or 23 (once 19), the scales weakly imbricate. Ventrals: 142-159. Subcaudals: males 31-34, females 22-32. (Smith 1974)

Coloration: Uniform creamy-yellow or golden brown (one specimen brown). Head usually darker brown. Juveniles dark bluish-brown on back, broken by irregular pale golden bands one scale wide and 2-4 scales apart. Predominance of blue-brown decreases with age, it being superseded by golden brown. Blue-brown recedes to tips of scales and persists longest on the back where it sometimes remains in subadults as several longitudinal rows of spots. (Smith 1974)

Variation: All specimens display some division of head shields. Most variable are the prefrontals; their number and orientation are related to variation in frontal length. When the frontal is not unduly prolonged forwards, the two prefrontals are roughly rectangular and in broad contact. With increasing frontal length the prefrontals become long and narrow, obliquely orientated and only in short contact. A high prefrontal obliquity can be attained before the elongate anterior corner of the frontal is split off to form a median shield. In extreme cases of frontal elongation not only a median shield is formed but the elongate prefrontals each divide transversely to form 4 prefrontals (or occasionally 3 . when only one side divides). (See M.A. Smith 1926: 20 fig. 10.)
Upper labials, especially the anterior ones, are prone to horizontal division, usually the first 3, sometimes 2 or 4 (once 5) divided. Ten upper labials occur occasionally, mainly because of vertical division of the basal portion of the horizontally divided sixth labial. Eight labials occur when the first and second labials fuse. With one exception (count of 22) subcaudal range is 25-34. (Smith 1974) 

Synonymy after COGGER 1983. Aipysurus laevis pooleorum SMITH 1974 has been elevated to species level. Kaiser et al. 2013 rejected the generic name Oceanius Wells 2007 and synonymized it with Aipysurus.

Type species: Aipysurus laevis LACÉPÈDE 1804 is the type species of the genus Aipysurus LACÉPÈDE 1804.

Habitat: marine. This species is known from 130-140 m depth in Australian waters (Greer 1997: 270).

Hybridization: A. laevis hybridizes with A. fuscus (Sanders et al. 2014) 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “laevis” = smooth. 
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