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Hydrophis atriceps GÜNTHER, 1864

IUCN Red List - Hydrophis atriceps - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesBlack-headed seasnake 
SynonymHydrophis atriceps GÜNTHER 1864: 371
Hydrophis fasciatus atriceps GÜNTHER 1864
Hydrophis alcocki WALL 1906: 288
Disteira cincinnatii VAN DENBURGH & THOMPSON 1908: 42
Hydrophis atriceps — COGGER 1983: 249
Hydrophis atriceps — WELCH 1994: 67
Hydrophis atriceps — COGGER 2000: 714
Hydrophis (Hydrophis) atriceps — KHARIN 2004
Hydrophis atriceps — RASMUSSEN et al. 2011
Hydrophis atriceps — WALLACH et al. 2014: 340 
DistributionThailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia,
Australia (North Territory, West Australia?),
New Guinea

Type locality: Thailand Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproductionviviparous 
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.1.2.62, BMNH 63.9.29.5.
Holotype: IM 14470, fide Smith (1926) [Hydrophis alcocki].
Holotype: CAS 15016, from 1 mi. NE of Cavite, Manila Bay, Philippines [Disteira cincinnatii]. 
CommentVenomous! Synonymy after COGGER 1983.

DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERS (DIAGNOSIS).— Head small, body long and slender anteriorly; scales on thickest part of body subquadrangular or hexagonal in shape, juxtaposed or slightly imbricate; 5–6 maxillary teeth behind fangs; 2 anterior temporals; body scales in 25–30 (usually 27–29) rows around the neck, 39–49 (usually 43–45) around midbody (increase in number of rows from neck to mid-body 12–21, usually 14–18); ventral scales 323–452 (average 366 or less); anterior part of body including head and neck dark olive to black with pale oval yellowish spots on sides, sometimes connected as crossbars; posterior, grayish; below whitish; dark rhomboidal spots may extend down the sides of the body and form complete annuli in young. Total length males 1100 mm, females 990 mm; tail length males 100 mm, females 75 mm. [after LEVITON 2003]

The original description is available online (see link below).

All references to H. atriceps from the Bay of Bengal are most probably H. fasciatus, with which H. atriceps has long been associated. Does not occur in the waters of Myanmar fide LEVITON et al. (2003).

Habitat: marine. 
EtymologyNamed after its color, Latin “ater, atra, atrum” = dark or black, and “-ceps”, a short form of “caput” = head. 
References
  • Bergman, R. A. M. 1962. The anatomy of Hydrophis fasciatus atriceps. Biol. Jaarb. 30: 389-416
  • Cogger, H. G. 1975. The sea snakes of Australia and New Guinea. pp. 59-139 in Dunson, W. (ed. ) The Biology of Sea Snakes. Baltimore: University Park Press
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Cogger,H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Kharin, V. E. 2006. An Annotated Checklist of Sea Snakes of Vietnam, with Notes on a New Record of the Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait, Laticauda colubrina (Schneider, 1799)(Laticaudidae, Hydrophiidae). Russian Journal of Marine Biology 32 (4): 223–228.
  • Kharin, V.E. 2004. Review of Sea Snakes of the genus Hydrophis sensu stricto (Serpentes: Hydrophiidae). Russian Journal of Marine Biology 30 (6): 387-394
  • Kharin, V.E. 2004. A review of sea snakes of the genus Hydrophis sensu stricto (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae). [in Russian]. Biologiya Morya (Vladivostok) 30 (6): 447-454
  • Kharin, Vladimir E.; Jakob Hallermann 2009. Annotated catalogue of sea kraits (Laticaudidae) and sea snakes (Hydrophiidae) of the herpetological collection of the Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg. Mitt. hamb. zool. Mus. Inst. 106: 51-67
  • Leviton, Alan E.; Guinevere O.U. Wogan; Michelle S. Koo; George R. Zug; Rhonda S. Lucas and Jens V. Vindum 2003. The Dangerously Venomous Snakes of Myanmar Illustrated Checklist with Keys. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 54 (24): 407–462
  • McDowell, S. B. 1972. The genera of sea-snakes of the Hydrophis group (Serpentes: Elapidae). Trans. Zool. Soc. Lond 32: 189-247 - 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
  • Rasmussen, A. R. & I. INEICH 2000. Sea snakes of New Caledonia and surrounding waters (Serpentes: Elapidae): first report on the occurence of Lapemis curtus and description of new species from the genus Hydrophis. Hamadryad 25 (2): 91-99 - get paper here
  • RASMUSSEN, ARNE REDSTED; JOHAN ELMBERG, PETER GRAVLUND & IVAN INEICH 2011. Sea snakes (Serpentes: subfamilies Hydrophiinae and Laticaudinae) in Vietnam: a comprehensive checklist and an updated identification key. Zootaxa 2894: 1–20 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Sang, Nguyen Van; Ho Thu Cuc, Nguyen, Quang Truong 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 pp.
  • Smith, M. A. 1926. Monograph on the Sea Snakes. (Hydrophiidae). London: British Museum, xvii + 130 pp.
  • Van Denburgh, J. & Thompson, J. C. 1908. Description of a new species of sea snake from the Philippine Islands, with a note on the palatine teeth in the Proteroglypha. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 3: 41-48 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1906. A descriptive list of the sea-snakes in the Indian Museum. Mem. Asiat. Soc. Beng. 1: 277-299
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
 
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