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Aipysurus mosaicus SANDERS, RASMUSSEN, ELMBERG, MUMPUNI, GUINEA, BLIAS, LEE & FRY, 2012

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAipysurus mosaicus SANDERS, RASMUSSEN, ELMBERG, MUMPUNI, GUINEA, BLIAS, LEE & FRY 2012
Aipysurus eydouxii (GRAY 1849) (part)
Aipysurus mosaicus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 23 
DistributionAustralia

Type locality: Gulf of Carpentaria near Weipa, Australia  
Reproductionviviparous. 
TypesHolotype: SAMA R65222. A small adult male collected in October 2000 by B.F. Fry. Tail tissue stored in ethanol in the ABTC-SAM.
Paratype. SAMA R23493. An adult female collected in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Tissue stored fro- zen in the ABTC-SAM. 
CommentDiagnosis. Aipysurus mosaicus is distinct from seven of the eight species (except A. eydouxii) of Aipysurus using external characters. Aipysurus apraefrontalis and A. foliosquama have ventrals with a deep median notch on the posterior edge, A. mosaicus has ventrals lacking a median notch. Aipysurus tenuis has more than 170 ventrals, A. mosaicus has 140–154. Aipysurus duboisii, A. fuscus, A. laevis, and A. pooleorum have more than 17 scale rows around midbody and at least some of the head shields are usually broken up into smaller plates, A. mosaicus has 17 scale rows around body and head shields that are normally symmetrical and not broken up.

Aipysurus mosaicus is clearly distinct from A. eydouxii in a number of external and internal characters. Aipysu- rus eydouxii has 29 or more bands on body, A. mosaicus has 22 body bands or fewer. In our sample, the following characters differ significantly between A. eydouxii and A. mosaicus when compared intrasexually: number of body bands, tail bands, ventrals, subcaudals, as well as heart and liver positions (absolute and relative). Compared to A. eydouxii, A. mosaicus has a larger premaxilla, a smaller maxilla, a cresent-shaped (rather than triangular) nasal, an anteriorly concave (rather than straight) frontoparietal suture, and dorsally-expanded caudal neural spines [from SANDERS et al. 2012]. 
EtymologyNamed from the Latin mosaicus in reference to the mosaic-like pattern of dark and light scales arranged in irregularly staggered cross-bands. We suggest the common name mosaic sea snake for this species. 
References
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • 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, 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
 
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