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Demansia olivacea (GRAY, 1842)

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesOlive Whipsnake, Marble-headed Whip Snake 
SynonymLycodon olivaceus GRAY 1842: 54
Elapocephalus ornaticeps MACLEAY 1878: 221
Demansia ornaticeps — KINGHORN 1929
Diemenia ornaticeps BOULENGER 1896
Demansia olivacea - COGGER 1983: 221
Demansia olivacea — WELCH 1994: 53
Demansia olivacea — COGGER 2000: 640
Demansia olivacea — SHEA & SCANLON 2007
Demansia olivacea — WALLACH et al. 2014: 213 
DistributionAustralia (N Western Australia: Kimberleys through the Northern Territory to W Queensland)

Type locality: Port Essington, N. T.  
Reproductionoviparous. 
TypesSyntypes: presumed lost; 2 syntypes listed by Boulenger (1896) cannot be Gray's specimens, as locality and other collection data do not correspond fide Cogger & Lindner (1974).
Holotype: AM R31918, from Port Darwin, N. T. [Elapocephalus ornaticeps]
Holotype: AM R31921, from "vicinity of King's Sound", W. A. [Diemenia angusticeps] 
CommentDemansia olivacea rufescens STORR 1978 and Demansia olivacea calodera STORR 1978 have been elevated to species status.

Diagnosis. A small to medium-sized Demansia (only two records greater than 557 mm) with very reduced or absent dark transrostral streak, lips and snout greyish, finely variegated, no pale preocular bar or dark or pale collars on nape, but a median series of dark spots present on anterior ventrals.

Venomous! 
EtymologyGray did not explicitly provide the etymology of the species’ name, but it is presumably from the Latin olivaceus (olive-coloured), referring to the “dark olive-green” coloration mentioned in the description. The etymology of ornaticeps is presumably from the Latin ornatus (adorned, decorated) and -ceps (head), alluding to the characteristic marbled head of this taxon. 
References
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Cogger, H. G. & Lindner, D. A. 1974. Frogs and reptiles. In: Fauna survey of the Port Essington District, Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory of Australia. Frith, H. J. & Calaby, J. H. (eds. ). CSIRO Div. Wildl. Res. Tech. Pap. 28: 63-107
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • de Rooij, N. DE 1917. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Il. Ophidia. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 334 S.
  • Gray, J. E. 1842. Description of some hitherto unrecorded species of Australian reptiles and batrachians. Zoological Miscellany 2: 51—57 (London: Treuttel, Würtz & Co) - get paper here
  • Kinghorn, J. Roy 1929. Herpetological notes No. I. Rec. Austral. Mus. 17 (2): 76-84 - get paper here
  • Macleay, W. 1878. Notes on a collection of snakes from Port Darwin. Proc. Linn, Soc. N. S. W. 2: 219-222 - get paper here
  • McDowell, Samuel B.;Cogger, Harold G. 1967. Aspidomorphus, a genus of New Guinea snakes of the family Elapidae, with notes on related genera. Journal of Zoology, London 151: 497-543 - get paper here
  • Shea, G.M. & Scanlon 2007. Revision of the small tropical whipsnakes previously referred to Demansia olivacea (Gray, 1842) and Demansia torquata (Guenther, 1862) (Squamata: Elapidae). Rec. Austral. Mus. 59 (2-3): 117-142 - get paper here
  • Shine, R. 1980. Ecology of eastern Australian whipsnakes of the genus Demansia. Journal of Herpetology 14 (4): 381-389 - get paper here
  • Somaweera, R. 2009. Snakes of Darwin. Poster, University of Sydney
  • Storr G M 1978. Whip snakes (Demansia, Elapidae) of Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 6 (3): 287-301 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. 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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