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Hydrophis melanocephalus GRAY, 1849

IUCN Red List - Hydrophis melanocephalus - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesSlender-necked Seasnake 
SynonymHydrophis spiralis melanocephalus GRAY 1849
Hydrophis sublaevis var. Melanocephala GRAY 1849: 53 (part.)
Hydrophis melanocephalus — BOULENGER 1896
Disteira orientalis STEJNEGER 1901: 191
Microcephalophis melanocephalus — STEJNEGER 1898: 224
Disteira melanocephala — STEJNEGER 1907: 421
Hydrophis melanocephalus — COGGER 1983: 252
Leioselasma melanocephala — KHARIN 1984
Leioselasma melanocephala — WELCH 1994: 71
Leioselasma melanocephala — KHARIN 2005
Hydrophis melanocephalus — NGUYEN et al. 2009
Hydrophis melanocephala — RASMUSSEN et al. 2011
Hydrophis melanocephalus — SANDERS et al. 2013 [by implication]
Leioselasma melanocephala — WALLACH et al. 2014: 367 
DistributionSouth Chinese Sea (China: Guangxi), Vietnam,
Japan (Ryukyu, Hokkaido, Kochi)
Coasts of Taiwan and Guangdong northward to Zhejiang (China), Korea, Philippines

Type locality: Indian Ocean (type series from Indian Ocean and Madras, India) [of lectotype].  
Reproductionviviparous 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.9.22, designated by Cogger 1983.
Holotype: TIU 29 from Okinawa Shima, Japan, fide Smith (1926) [Disteira orientalis]. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Head small, body slender anteriorly. Scale rows around neck 23–27; scale rows around body 33–41; ventrals 289–358. Maxillary teeth behind fangs 6–8. Colouration: Body greyish yellow above, yellowish or white below, with 40–55 black bands, about as broad as their interspaces, usually broadest above and below. Head blackish, sometimes with yellow spots. 
CommentVenomous!

Synonymy partly after COGGER 1983. Not listed by COGGER 2000.

Similar species: Hydrophis melanocephalus has been confused with Laticauda semifasciata in Korean waters and the former may not occur there (Kim et al. 2016).

Habitat: marine.

Distribution: has been reported from Australia (North Territory?, West Australia), New Guinea but not mentioned for these areas by RASMUSSEN et al. 2011. 
Etymology 
References
  • 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
  • Goris, R.C. & Maeda, N. 2004. Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Japan. Krieger, Malabar, 285 pp.
  • Gray, J. E. 1849. Catalogue of the specimens of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Edward Newman, London, i-xv; 1-125. - get paper here
  • Kharin V E 1984. A review of sea snakes of the group Hydrophis sensu lato (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae). 3. The genus Leioselasma [in Russian]. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 63 (10): 1535-1546
  • 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. 2005. On new findings of a rare sea snake Leioselasma czeblukovi Kharin, 1984, with remarks on species composition and taxonomical position of the genus Leioselasma Lacepede, 1804, (Serpentes: Hydrophiidae). Russian Journal of Marine Biology 31 (5): 269-272.
  • Kharin, V.E. 2009. Redescription of a Russian Finding of the Erabu Sea Krait Pseudolaticauda semifasciata (Reinwardt in Schlegel, 1837), with Remarks about Species Composition of Sea Snakes (Serpentes: Laticaudidae, Hydrophiidae) in Russian and Adjacent Waters. Russian Journal of Marine Biology 35 (1): 8–14
  • 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
  • Lillywhite, Harvey B. 2014. How Snakes Work: Structure, Function and Behavior of the World's Snakes. Oxford University Press, New York, 256 pp
  • Masunaga, Gen; Nagai, Yoshiko; Tanase, Hidetomo; and Ota, Hidetoshi. 2005. A record of the black-headed sea snake, Hydrophis melanocephalus (Reptilia: Elaphidae), from the Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. Current Herpetology 24 (1): 37-42. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Mori,M. 1982. Japans Schlangen, Vols. 1-3 (80, 102, 123 pp.). Tokyo (Igaku-Shoin Ltd.) [bilingual edition in German and Japanese]
  • Nguyen, S.V., Ho, C.T. and Nguyen, T.Q. 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 pp.
  • 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
  • Shannon, F.A. 1956. The reptiles and amphibians of Korea. Herpetologica 12 (1): 22-49 - get paper here
  • Smith, M. A. 1926. Monograph on the Sea Snakes. (Hydrophiidae). London: British Museum, xvii + 130 pp.
  • Stejneger, L. 1910. The batrachians and reptiles of Formosa. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 38: 91-114 - get paper here
  • Stejneger, LEONHARD H. 1907. Herpetology of Japan and adjacent territory. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 58: xx, 1-577 - get paper here
  • Stejneger,L. 1898. On a collection of batrachians and reptiles from Formosa and Adjacent Islands. J. Coll. Sci. Univ. Tokyo 12: 215-225 - get paper here
  • Stejneger,L. 1901. Diagnosis of eight new batrachians and reptiles from the Riu Kiu Archipelago, Japan. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 14: 189-191 - 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.
  • Zhao, E.M. 2006. The snakes of China [in Chinese]. Hefei, China, Anhui Sience & Technology Publ. House, Vol. I, 372 pp., Vol. II (color plates), 280 pp.
  • ZHOU Fang,YU Li-jiang 2002. SNAKES ALONG THE BOUNDRY AREA BETWEEN SOUTHWEST GUANGXI,CHINA AND VIETNAM. Sichuan Journal of Zoology - get paper here
 
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