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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) 

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. 
  • Aubret, Fabien. 2006. Aipysurus pooleorum Avian predation. Herpetological Review 37 (1): 93 - get paper here
  • Bauer, A. M. & SADLIER, R. A. 2000. The herpetofauna of New Caledonia. Contributions to Herpetology, 17; Society for Study Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.
  • Burns, G. & H. Heatwole 1998. Home Range and Habitat Use of the Olive Sea Snake, Aipysurus laevis, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia Journal of Herpetology 32 (3): 350-358. - get paper here
  • Burns,Glen & Heatwole,Harold 2000. Growth, sexual dimorphism, and population biology of the olive sea snake, Aipysurus laevis, on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Amphibia-Reptilia 21 (3): 289-300 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Duméril, A. M. C., Bibron, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
  • Ehmann, Harold 1992. Encyclopedia of Australian Animals: Reptiles. Angus & Robertson, Pymble, NSW, 495 pp.
  • Fischer, J.G. 1856. Die Familie der Seeschlangen. Abhandl. Nat. Ver. Hamburg 3: 1-78 - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1846. A new genus of sea-snake from Port Essington. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (1) 18: 284 - get paper here
  • Greer, A. E. 1997. The biology and evolution of Australian snakes. Surrey, Beatty and Sons, Sydney, 350 pp.
  • Heatwole, H. 1987. Sea snakes. The New South Wales university Press, 85 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
  • Kukoschek, V.; Heatwole, H.; Grech, A.; Burns, G.; Marsh, H. 2007. Distribution of two species of sea snakes, Aipysurus laevis and Emydocephalus annulatus, in the southern Great Barrier Reef: metapopulation dynamics, marine protected areas and conservation. Coral Reefs 26(2):291-307 - get paper here
  • LaCépède, B. G. E. L. 1804. Mémoire sur plusieurs animaux de la Nouvelle- Hollande dont la description n’a pas encore été publiée. Annales du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 4:184-211 - get paper here
  • LUKOSCHEK,VIMOKSALEHI; MICHELLE WAYCOTT and GLENN DUNSHEA 2005. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci from the Australasian sea snake, Aipysurus laevis. Molecular Ecology Notes 5: 879–881 - get paper here
  • Minton S A; Dunson W W 1985. Sea snakes collected at Chesterfield Reefs, Coral Sea. ATOLL RESEARCH BULLETIN No. 292: 101-108
  • O'Shea,M. 1996. A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea. Independent Publishing, Port Moresby, xii + 239 pp. - 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
  • Redfield, J. A., Holmes, J. C. & Holmes, R. D. 1978. Sea snakes of the eastern Gulf of Carpentaria. Aust. J Mar. Freshwat. Res. 29: 325-334 - get paper here
  • Sanders, K.L., Rasmussen, A.R., Guinea, M.L. 2014. High rates of hybridisation reveal fragile reproductive barriers between endangered Australian sea snakes. Biological Conservation 171: 200 - 208 - get paper here
  • Shine R, Shine TG, Brown GP, Udyawer V. 2023. Sexual dimorphism in aipysurine sea snakes (Elapidae, Hydrophiinae). R. Soc. Open Sci. 10: 231261 - 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.
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 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
  • Wall, F. 1909. Monograph on the Sea Snakes. Mem. Asiatic Soc. Bengal 2 (8): 169-251 - 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.
  • Wells, R. W. 2007. Some taxonomic and nomenclatural considerations on the class Reptilia in Australia. The sea snakes of Australia. An introduction to the members of the families Hydrophiidae and Laticaudidae in Australia, with a new familial and generic arrangement. Australian Biodiversity Record (8):1–124 - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
  • Zimmerman, K. D.;Shohet, D. 1994. Observations on newborn olive sea snakes, Aipysurus laevis, and resulting divisions of its life cycle. The Snake 26 (1): 51-56
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