Elapognathus minor (GÜNTHER, 1863)
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|Higher Taxa||Elapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Short-nosed Snake, Little Brown Snake|
G: Kleine Braunotter
|Synonym||Hoplocephalus minor GÜNTHER 1863 : 362|
Elapognathus minor — BOULENGER 1896
Notechis minor — STORR 1982
Elapognathus minor — COGGER 1983: 224
Elapognathus minor — WELCH 1994: 59
Elapognathus minor — COGGER 2000: 649
Elaphognathus minor — BUSH & MARYAN 2006 (in error)
Elapognathus minor — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Elapognathus minor — WALLACH et al. 2014: 264
|Distribution||Australia (SW Western Australia)|
Type locality: Swan River, S Australia; “Spitjwestern Australia” fide GOLAY et al. 1993.
|Types||Lectotype: BMNH 19220.127.116.11 M (Swan River), designated by Wells & Wellington (1985). Former syntypes: BMNH 1918.104.22.168 F (Swan River); BMNH 1922.214.171.124-15 ("S. Australia”); BMNH 1964.962 (the skull from MCZ 76635), ZMB 4928 (not found), MCZ 76635 ("S. Australia", skull removed), from "S. Australia" and Swan River, W. A. (both as "S. W. Australia”).|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis (genus): Small terrestrial hydrophiine elapid snakes with anal and all subcaudals undivided; dorsal scales smooth and matt; head slightly distinct from neck; eye large; pupil round; 0 to 4 noncanaliculate maxillary teeth behind diastema (usually none in minor, but one specimen with 3 posterior alveoli); temporal scales usually 2+2+3 (up to 3+3+4 in coronatus); preocular contacts undivided nasal and second supralabial; usually 6 supralabials (in coronatus, sometimes 7 when temporolabial reaches lip); parietal separated from lower postocular; 7 infralabials. Venom-gland musculature ‘Oxyuranus type' (coronatus) or Glyphodon type (m. adductor externus superficialis [probably should be superfacialis] secondarily simplified and reduced in minor). Body form moderate to somewhat stout, round (or facultatively depressed) in crosssection; ventral scales not extending to lateral surface of the body and with uniformly curved free edge. Dorsal scale rows 19±23 at ®rst ventral, 15 on neck and at midbody, a single bilateral posterior reduction to 13. Ventrals fewer than 160 (minor 116±129, coronatus 130± 153). Iris dark with pale ring around pupil; body reddish or greenish grey or brown; top of head darker and with pale-edged dark collar (in minor, only on sides of neck); upper lip pale; dorsal bands or blotches absent; venter yellow or orange with dark speckles or transverse bars; oral lining pale, tongue dark. SVL less than 600 mm, adult males and females approximately equal in size; viviparous; diet includes more frogs than skinks. Tail moderately prehensile, used by both species to climb at least in low vegetation.|
Most similar to species of Drysdalia (coronoides, mastersii, rhodogaster), but distinguished by the following apomorphic characters: dorsal laminae of nasal bones more extensive, clasping premaxilla and contacting frontal; anteromedial spine of prefrontal absent; lacrimal foramen may be transversely elongated rather than round; postorbital broad and `strap-like' distally; adductor crests on parietal not meeting to form a sagittal crest posteriorly; neural spine not overhanging anteriorly; diet mainly frogs; tail prehensile and climbs in low vegetation. Drysdalia spp. further differ from Elapognathus in the following apomorphies: lower average number of dorsal scale rows at first ventral (range 17±21, vs. 19±23), and posterior reduction further behind midbody (15 to 13 rows at 76±88% ventral scale, vs. 63-88% in Elapognathus); posterior process of vomer subequal in length to capsule of Jacobsen's organ; frontal bones (and overlying scale) long, narrow between the orbits and expanded anteriorly; postorbital crest of parietal reduced; trigeminal foramen (V2) narrowly separated from parietal; retroarticular process in lateral view in line with compound; adductor fossa open laterally; surangular foramen one-third from anterior end of compound bone; one less pair of macrochromosomes (by fusion); Z sex chromosome modified and differing in relative length (`Group 5' vs. `Group 1' karyomorph, Mengden, 1985) (from Keogh et al. 2000: 325).
Type species: Hoplocephalus minor GÜNTHER 1863 : 362 is the type species of the genus Elapognathus BOULENGER 1896.
Diagnosis (genus): Cogger 1986 ? (fide Hutchinson 1990, who doesn’t cite Cogger 1986).
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