Cerberus australis (GRAY, 1842)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Cerberus australis?
|Higher Taxa||Homalopsidae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||Australian Bockadam|
|Synonym||Homalopsis australis GRAY 1842: 65|
Cerberus rynchops australis — LOVERIDGE 1948:389
Cerberus rynchops novaeguineae LOVERIDGE 1948:388 (fide MURPHY 2007)
Cerberus australis — GYI 1970
Cerberus rynchops novaeguineae — O’SHEA 1996
Cerberus australis — WILSON & SWAN 2003
Cerberus australis — ALFARO 2004
Cerberus australis — GREER 2006 (online)
Cerberus australis — MURPHY 2007
Cerberus australis — MURPHY & VORIS 2014: 11
Cerberus australis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 154
|Distribution||N Australia, SC Papua New Guinea|
Type Locality: Port Essington N.T. (~12°28’S 130°54’E) Australia. Map legend:
- Type locality.
|Types||Holotype: BMNH 1918.104.22.168.|
novaeguineae: Syntypes: MCZ 22818, BMNH 1965.642. Type Locality: Merauke, Dutch New Guinea. Collector: P. T. L. Putman.
|Comment||Most recent authors (e.g. Cogger, 1975, 2000; Cogger et al., 1983; Storr|
et al., 1986; Shine, 1991; Greer, 1997) have not recognized C. australis as a separate species, but included it in C. rynchops. Genetic differences suggest that it is a different species from C. rynchops (Alfaro et al. 2004) although C. australis is morphologically and ecologically very similar to Oriental C. rynchops.
Diagnosis. Cerberus australis can be distinguished from all other members of the genus by its 23 scales rows (range 21–25) at midbody, imbricate scales on the crown, lack of keeled scales on crown anterior to the angle of the jaw; lack of contact between first labial and loreal; horizontally divided last upper labial; and mottled venter Cerberus dunsoni has 23 scale rows at mid body, the first labial usually contacts the loreal; and the crown has rounded juxtaposed scales, the venter is a uniform black. Cerberus microlepis has 27–31 scale rows at mid-body. Cerberus rynchops has 25 scale rows at mid body (rarely 23); keeled scales on the crown anterior to the angle of the jaw, and the last two upper labials are horizontally divided. Cerberus schneiderii usually has 23 scale rows at mid-body (rarely 21 or 25), the first upper labial usually contacts the loreal [from MURPHY et al. 2012].
Variation: Cerberus australis has several color and pattern morphs, individuals can be: a uniform red or gray or have partial transverse bands that may alternate sides, a mid-dorsal row of spots that may extend onto the tail; many specimens have a postocular stripe. The venter may be cream, yellow or salmon with mottling or blotches.
Habitat: aquatic; mud flats and mangrove forests; estuaries, fresh-water streams, sometimes basking on mud flats (Kinghorn 1929, Murphy 2007).