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Demansia papuensis (MACLEAY, 1877)

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Papuan whip snake 
SynonymDiemenia papuensis MACLEAY 1877: 40
Diemenia psammophis BOULENGER 1896
Demansia olivacea papuensis
Demansia papuensis — COGGER 1983: 221
Demansia papuensis melaena STORR 1978
Demansia papuensis — SHEA 1998
Demansia papuensis — COGGER 2000: 641
Demansia papuensis — SHEA & SCANLON 2007
Demansia papuensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 214
Demansia papuensis — MIRTSCHIN et al. 2017 
DistributionAustralia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia),
S Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya) ? [see comment].

papuensis: New Guinea

melaena: Australia (Kimberley region , NE Queensland); Type locality: Katherine, 14° 28' S, 132° 16' E, N. T.

Type locality: Papua New Guinea (probably Hall Sound).  
TypesHolotype: AMS (AM) R31919
Holotype: WAM R47590 [melaena] 
CommentDistribution: D. papuensis is now believed to be confined to Australia, despite its name, and D. atra in PNG is now known as D. vestigata (Shea 1998). Distribution of subspecies after COGGER 2000.

Venomous! Bits of this species are not lethal but can be very painful and long-lasting (weeks to months) (Don Manogadon, pers. comm., 5 May 2023). 
EtymologyNamed after its distribution in Papua New Guinea. 
  • 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 2: Desert and tropical savanna. Reptilia (GB) (41): 52-57 - get paper here
  • Macleay, W. 1877. The ophidians of the Chevert Expedition. Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 2: 33-41 (given as 1878 on title page but published in 1877) - get paper here
  • Mirtschin, P., Rasmussen, A.R. & Weinstein, S.A. 2017. Australia’s Dangerous snakes. CSIRO Publishing, 424 pp. - get paper here
  • O'Shea,M. 1996. A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea. Independent Publishing, Port Moresby, xii + 239 pp. - get paper here
  • Parkin, T., Jolly, C. J., de Laive, A., & von Takach, B. 2020. Snakes on an urban plain: Temporal patterns of snake activity and human–snake conflict in Darwin, Australia. Austral Ecology - get paper here
  • Shea, G M 1998. Geographic variation in scalation and size of the black whip snakes (Squamata: Elapidae: Demansia vestigiata complex): evidence for two broadly sympatric species. The Beagle 14: 41-61
  • 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
  • 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. [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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