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Hydrophis donaldi UKUWELA, SANDERS & FRY, 2012

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common Names 
SynonymHydrophis donaldi UKUWELA, SANDERS & FRY 2012
Hydrophis donaldi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 340 
DistributionN Australia (Queensland: Gulf of Carpentaria)

Type locality: Gulf of Carpentaria, Weipa, Queensland, Australia (12°35'10.88" S, 141°57'47.21" E)  
TypesHolotype: QM J90700 (Figs. 1A–C and 2A–B), an adult male, by B. G. Fry on 15th October, 2000. Liver tissue stored in ethanol in the QM (Accession no: 007903).
Paratypes (n = 7). SAMA 
CommentDiagnosis. Hydrophis donaldi sp. nov. is distinguished from all other Hydrophis species except H. coggeri, H. sibauensis and H. torquatus diadema by the following combination of characters: ventrals not divided by a longitudinal furrow, 29–30 costal scale rows around neck, 33–35 costal scales around body, 6–7 maxillary teeth behind fang on each side, 246–288 ventrals (Rasmussen et al. 2001; Smith 1926). The new species differs from H. coggeri by having 47–56 (vs 30–42) bands on the body and tail, strongly spinous (vs feebly carinate) body scales, 246–288 (vs 280–360) ventrals, relatively larger and rounded (vs smaller, elongate) head, and anterior part of the maxilla not arched upwards and the tip of the fang projecting below the level of the maxillary teeth (Fig 1D) (vs anterior part of the maxilla arched upwards and tip of fang not projecting below the level of the maxillary teeth) (Cogger 2000). The new species differs from H. sibauensis by a higher number of scale rows around the neck 29–30 (vs 25–26 in H. sibauensis) and strongly spinous (vs feebly carinate) body scales (Rasmussen et al. 2001). Hydrophis donaldi sp. nov. differs from H. torquatus diadema by a lower midbody scale count (33–35 vs 35–42 in H. torquatus diadema) and strongly spinous (vs feebly carinate) body scales (Smith 1926). 
EtymologyThe species is named to honour Dave Donald, the skipper of the boat who worked tirelessly with us and whose local knowledge facilitated the discovery of this species. We propose the common name ‘rough scaled sea snake’ for this species due to its strongly keeled body scales. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • 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
  • UKUWELA, KANISHKA D. B.; KATE L. SANDERS & BRYAN G. FRY 2012. Hydrophis donaldi (Elapidae, Hydrophiinae), a highly distinctive new species of sea snake from northern Australia. Zootaxa 3201: 45–57
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