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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 — SANG 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]. 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 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.9.22, designated by Cogger 1983.
Holotype: TIU 29 from Okinawa Shima, Japan, fide Smith (1926) [Disteira orientalis]. 
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.

Diagnosis: 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. 
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
  • 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]
  • 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
  • Sang, Nguyen Van; Ho Thu Cuc, Nguyen, Quang Truong 2009. Herpetofauna of Vietnam. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 768 pp.
  • 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. 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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