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Hydrophis melanosoma GÜNTHER, 1864

IUCN Red List - Hydrophis melanosoma - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Black-banded, robust seasnake 
SynonymHydrophis melanosoma GÜNTHER 1864: 367
Distira melanosoma BOULENGER 1896
Hydrophis floweri BOULENGER 1898
Distira wrayi BOULENGER 1900: 307
Hydrophis melanosoma — COGGER 1983: 252
Hydrophis melanosoma — WELCH 1994: 67
Hydrophis melanosoma — COGGER 2000: 718
Hydrophis (Mediohydrophis) melanosoma — KHARIN 2004
Mediohydrophis melanosoma — WALLACH et al. 2014: 431 
DistributionSouth Chinese Sea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia (Borneo), New Guinea,
Australia (Northern Territory?, Queensland, Western Australia?)

Type locality: not known (fide O’SHEA 1996 and COGGER 1983)  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.10.6, from unknown locality.
Syntypes: BMNH 1946.1.9.48-51, from Brunei Bay, Borneo [Hydrophis floweri]. 

Synonymy partly after COGGER 1983.

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

Habitat: marine and freshwater (Rasmussen et al. 2001).

Status: Cogger 2014 says that the status of Australian specimens is uncertain. 
EtymologyPresumably named after the Greek melanos (black) plus soma (body), in reference to coloration (G. Shea, pers. comm., 9 Feb 2024) 
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1898. Description of a new sea-snake from Borneo. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1898: 106-107 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1900. Description of new reptiles from Perak, Malay Peninsula. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (7) 5: 306-308 - get paper here
  • 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
  • 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. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • DAVID, Patrick; MEREL J. COX, OLIVIER S. G. PAUWELS, LAWAN CHANHOME AND KUMTHORN THIRAKHUPT 2004. Book Review - When a bookreview is not sufficient to say all: an in-depth analysis of a recent book on the snakes of Thailand, with an updated checklist of the snakes of the Kingdom. The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 4(1): 47-80 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • 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
  • 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., 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
  • Smith, M. A. 1926. Monograph on the Sea Snakes. (Hydrophiidae). London: British Museum, xvii + 130 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)
  • 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.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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