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Austrelaps superbus (GÜNTHER, 1858)

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Lowlands Copperhead, Copperhead Snake 
SynonymHoplocephalus superbus GÜNTHER 1858: 217 (part.)
Alecto schmidti JAN & SORDELLI 1873
Hoplocephalus superbus — MCCOY 1878
Notechis superbus STORR 1982
Austrelaps superbus — COGGER 1983: 218
Austrelaps superbus — RAWLINSON 1991: 126
Austrelaps superbus — WELCH 1994: 27
Austrelaps superbus — COGGER 2000: 635
Austrelaps superbus — MATTISON 2007: 258
Austrelaps superbus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 86 
DistributionAustralia (South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria)

Type locality: Australia and Tasmania, but restricted to Tasmania by Günther (1863)  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.20.37-38 (formerly, collected R. Gunn, )designated by RAWLINSON 1991. Originally syntypes: BMNH 1946.1.19.6, BMNH 1946.1.20.34-36, BMNH 1946.1.20.40, BMNH 1946.1.20.42 (Australia); BMNH 1946.1.19.5, BMNH 1946.1.20.37-38 (Tasmania); (partly fide COGGER 1983).
Holotype: ZMH 478, from Australia [Alecto schmidti] 
CommentSynonymy: modified after COGGER 1983. Austrelaps labialis and Austrelaps ramsayi have been synonymized with Austrelaps superbus previously (e.g. by COGGER 1983).

Type species: Hoplocephalus superbus GÜNTHER 1858 is the type species of the genus Austrelaps WORRELL 1963: 3.


Diagnosis (genus): Cogger 1986 (fide Hutchinson 1990, who doesn’t cite Cogger 1986).

Distribution: NSW populations have been assigned to A. ramsayi (although the validity of the latter has been disputed). 
  • Baehr, M. 1976. Beiträge zur Verbreitung und Ökologie tasmanischer Reptilien. Stuttgarter Beitr. Naturk. (A) 292: 1-24 - get paper here
  • Blackburn, D.G. 1994. Standardized criteria for the recognition of embryonic nutritional patterns in squamate reptiles. Copeia 1994 (4): 925-935 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Escoriza Boj, D. 2005. Australia. Reptiles and Amphibians, Part 1: Rainforest. Reptilia (GB) (40): 70-75 - get paper here
  • Fearn, Simon 1994. Some observations on the ecology of the copperhead Austrelaps superbus (Serpentes: Elapidae) in Tasmania. Herpetofauna (Sydney) 24 (2): 1-10
  • Günther, A. 1858. Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • Günther. A. 1863. Third account of new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 12: 348 - 365 - get paper here
  • Hutchinson M N 1990. The generic classification of the Australian terrestrial elapid snakes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 29 (3): 397-405
  • Hutchinson, M.N. 1979. The reptiles of Kinglake National Park. Victorian Naturalist 96: 124-134 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. & Sordelli, F. 1873. Iconographie Générale des Ophidiens. Atlas 1860-1881. Milan: Jan & Sordelli, 50 livr. - get paper here
  • Mattison, Chris 2007. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton University Press
  • McCoy, F. 1878. Pseudechys porphyriacus (SHAW SP.). The Black Snake. Hoplocephalus superbus (Günth.) The Copper-head snake [... etc...] Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria 1: 5- - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Rawlinson P A 1991. Taxonomy and distribution of the Australian tiger snakes (Notechis) and copperheads (Austrelaps) (Serpentes, Elapidae). ROYAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA PROCEEDINGS 103 (2): 125-135
  • Rawlinson, P.A. 1969. The reptiles of East Gippsland. Proc. R. Soc. Vict. 82: 113-128
  • 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
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., de Silva, A., Sivaruban, A. et al. 2022. Diversity, distribution, and natural history of the marine snakes of Sri Lanka. Marine Biodiversity 52, 24 (2022) - 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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