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Hydrelaps darwiniensis BOULENGER, 1896

IUCN Red List - Hydrelaps darwiniensis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Port Darwin seasnake 
SynonymHydrelaps darwiniensis BOULENGER 1896: 270
Hydrelaps darwiniensis — SMITH 1974: 107
Hydrelaps darwiniensis — COGGER 1983: 248
Hydrelaps darwiniensis — WELCH 1994: 67
Hydrelaps darwiniensis — COGGER 2000: 712
Hydrelaps darwiniensis — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Hydrelaps darwiniensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 338 
DistributionCoral Sea (S New Guinea, Australia)
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)

Type locality: Port Darwin, N. T.  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.1.91, designated by Kharin (2008). Syntypes: BMNH 1946.1.1.91-92 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Distinguished from all other sea snakes by the absence of preocular. (Smith 1974)

Description: A small snake (up to 525 mm) of fairly uniform thickness throughout body. Head moderately large; head shields entire, symmetrical, no canthus rostralis. Tail slightly downcurved.
Rostral as wide as, or slightly wider than high, and as wide as, or slightly wider than frontal, which is as long as, to twice as long as, wide (mostly as long as, or slightly longer than wide). Supraocular as wide as, to half as wide as, frontal. One postocular, Temporals: 1 anterior, 1 or 2 posterior. Upper labials 6 (5 once on one side), third and fourth entering orbit; lower labials mostly 7 (sometimes 6), the fourth the largest. Two pairs of chin shields prominent, in contact; posterior pair the longer.
Midbody scale rows 25 or 26 (mostly 25), the scales smooth; rows on lower flanks juxtaposed; remainder of dorsals imbricate. Ventrals 160-179; twice as wide as adjacent dorsals. Subcaudals 20-36 (males 29-36, females 20-29). (Smith 1974)

Coloration: Ground colour light grey or yellowish with 35-44 (occasionally confluent) bands on body, widest on back where they may enclose a pale spot and (sometimes) be widened on the belly; the adjoining ventrals on either side of each band blackened so that the majority of ventrals appear black. Head bluish grey. (Smith 1974) 

Habitat: mostly marine, but semi-aquatic.

Type species: Hydrelaps darwiniensis BOULENGER 1896 is the type species of the genus Hydrelaps BOULENGER 1896. 
EtymologyNamed after the city Darwin, Australia. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • 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. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Crowe-Riddell JM, Snelling EP, Watson AP, Suh AK, Partridge JC, Sanders KL. 2016. The evolution of scale sensilla in the transition from land to sea in elapid snakes. Open Biol. 6: 160054 - get paper here
  • Kharin, Vladimir E. 2008. On the taxonomic status of a mangrove sea snake Hydrelaps darwiniensis Boulenger, 1896 (Serpentes, Hydrophidae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 15 (2):103-109 - 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
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Porter, Robert; Irwin, Steve; Irwin, Terri;Rodrigues, Keith 1997. Records of marine snake species from the Hey-Embley and Mission Rivers, far North Queensland. Herpetofauna (Sydney) 27 (2): 2-7
  • RASMUSSEN, ARNE REDSTED; KATE LAURA SANDERS, MICHAEL L. GUINEA & ANDREW P. AMEY 2014. Sea snakes in Australian waters (Serpentes: subfamilies Hydrophiinae and Laticaudinae)—a review with an updated identification key. Zootaxa 3869 (4): 351–371 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Smith, L. A. 1974. The sea snakes of Western Australia (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae) with a description of a new subspecies. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 3: 93-110 - get paper here
  • Smith, M. A. 1926. Monograph on the Sea Snakes. (Hydrophiidae). London: British Museum, xvii + 130 pp.
  • 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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