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Hydrophis brookii GÜNTHER, 1872

IUCN Red List - Hydrophis brookii - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymHydrophis brookii GÜNTHER 1872: 597
Hydrophis consobrinus SMITH 1917: 341
Hydrophis brookei — DE ROOIJ 1917
Hydrophis brookei — SMITH 1943: 465
Hydrophis brookii — WELCH 1994: 67
Hydrophis brookei — MURPHY, COX & VORIS 1999
Hydrophis (Hydrophis) brookii — KHARIN 2004
Hydrophis brookii — RASMUSSEN et al. 2011
Hydrophis brooki — PYRON & BURBRINK 2013
Hydrophis brookii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 340 
DistributionIndian Ocean (Malaysia, Vietnam, W Indonesia: Sumatra, Java, Borneo: Kalimantan), Gulf of Thailand

Type locality: Sarawak, Malaysia  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.157 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION. Head very small, body very slender anteriorly, compressed posteriory and two to three times diameter of neck; 4–5 maxillary teeth behind venom fangs; scales at midbody subimbricate, hexagonal in shape, often with a median tubercle or keel; 6, occasionally only 5, upper labials, 3rd and 4th border eye; scales in 23–31 rows around neck, 37–45 around midbody; ventrals 328–414, distinct throughout; color (live) bluish white (greyish in preserved specimens), with 60–80 dark grey (black) bands, anteriorly they encircle body and are about twice as broad as the interspaces, posteriorly they narrow on the sides and may be incomplete below; head black or dark grey with curved yellow horseshoe-shaped marking across snout and extending back along sides of head. (Modified from Smith 1926:100–101 and Rasmussen et al. 2011:5, Leviton et al. 2014: 504).

Diagnostic characters: Head small, body long and slender anteriorly. Scale rows around neck 25–31; scale rows around body 3–45; ventrals 328–414. Maxillary teeth behind fangs 4–5. Colouration: Body bluish white with 60 to 80 dark or black bands. Anteriorly these completely encircle the body, but posteriorly they narrow on the sides and may be incomplete below. Head blackish, with a yellow horseshoe mark on the upper side. 

Habitat: marine and freshwater (Rasmussen et al. 2001). 
  • Chan-ard, T., Parr, J.W.K. & Nabhitabhata, J. 2015. A field guide to the reptiles of Thailand. Oxford University Press, NY, 352 pp. [see book reviews by Pauwels & Grismer 2015 and Hikida 2015 for corrections] - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1872. On the reptiles and amphibians of Borneo. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1872: 586-600. - get paper here
  • Kharin V E 1983. A new species of the genus Hydrophis sensu lato (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae) from the North Australian Shelf [in Russian]. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 62 (11): 1751-1753
  • 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 - get paper here
  • 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 - get paper here
  • 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, A.E., R.M. Brown, and C.D. Siler. 2014. The dangerously venomous snakes of the Philippine Archipelago. in The Coral Triangle: The 2011 Hearst Biodiversity Philippine Expedition (G.C. Williams and T.M. Gosliner, eds.). California Academy of Sciences, USA, Pp 473–530
  • Murphy,J.C.; Cox,M.J. & Voris,H.K. 1999. A key to the sea snakes in the gulf of Thailand. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 47: 95-108
  • Nguyen, S.V., Ho, C.T. and Nguyen, T.Q. 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 pp.
  • Rasmussen, A. R., M. AULIYA & W. BÖHME 2001. A new species of sea snake genus Hydrophis (Serpentes: Elapidae) from a river in West Kalimantan (Indonesia, Borneo). Herpetologica 57 (1): 23-32 - 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
  • Smith, M.A. 1917. Preliminary diagnoses of four new sea snakes. J. Nat. Hist. Soc. Siam 2: 340 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Stuebing, R.B. & INGER, R.F. 1999. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo. Natural history Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu, 254 pp. [corrections in HR 31: 124]. - get paper here
  • Stuebing, R.B., Inger, R.F. & Lardner, B. 2014. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo, second edition. Natural history Publications (Borneo)
  • Taylor,E.H. 1965. The serpents of Thailand and adjacent waters. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 45 (9): 609-1096 - get paper here
  • VORIS, HAROLD K. 2017. Diversity of Marine Snakes on Trawling Grounds in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea. Tropical Natural History 17 (2): 65–87 - 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.
  • Weinell, Jeffrey L.; Errol Hooper, Alan E. Leviton, Rafe M. Brown 2019. Illustrated Key to the Snakes of the Philippines. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 66 (1): 1-49 - get paper here
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