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Hydrophis obscurus DAUDIN, 1803

IUCN Red List - Hydrophis obscurus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Russel's Sea Snake, Estuarine Sea Snake 
SynonymHydrophis obscura DAUDIN 1803: 375
Hydrophis cloris DAUDIN 1803
Hydrophis subcinctus GRAY 1842
Hydrophis latifasciata GÜNTHER 1864
Hydrophis coronata GÜNTHER 1864
Hydrophis coronata — ANDERSON 1871: 192
Hydrophis chloris [sic] — ANDERSON 1872: 396 (fide GOLAY et al. 1993)
Porrecticollis obscurus — WALL 1921: 335
Hydrophis obscurus — SMITH 1943: 457
Hydrophis obscurus — WELCH 1994: 67
Hydrophis obscura — DAS 1996: 61
Hydrophis obscurus — LEVITON et al. 2003
Hydrophis (Hydrophis) obscurus — KHARIN 2004
Hydrophis obscura — MURTHY 2010
Hydrophis obscurus — SANDERS et al. 2013
Hydrophis obscurus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 341 
DistributionIndian Ocean (Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar (= Burma), Bangladesh), Thailand

Type locality: Sandbarbans [sic], India  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.9.27 (but original description based on Russell, 1801, pl. 8) 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERS (DIAGNOSIS).— Scales on thickest part of body with rounded or bluntly pointed tips, imbricate throughout; 5–7 maxillary teeth behind fangs; body elongate, ventrals distinct throughout, 300–338; 6–7 upper labials; 1 anterior temporal; 19–23 scale rows on neck, 29–37 on thickest part of body (increase from neck to midbody 8–14); young black with 35–55 bright yellow or whitish dorsal bars, posteriorly becoming complete bands that encircle body, head with curved yellow marking extending from snout to either side of parietal scales; adults markings become indistinct and older individuals almost uniform grayish above, yellowish below. Total length males 1190 mm, females 1200 mm; tail length males 135 mm, females 110 mm. [after LEVITON 2003] 

Synonymy after COGGER 1983.

Habitat: marine. 
  • Anderson, J. 1871. On some Indian reptiles. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1871: 149-211 - 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
  • Das, I. 2012. A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of South-East Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford J, ohn Beaufoy Publishing - get paper here
  • Daudin, F. M. 1803. Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière des Reptiles. vol. 7. Paris: Dufart, 436 pp. [publication date fide Harper 1940] - get paper here
  • Dowling, H.G., & Jenner, J.V. 1988. Snakes of Burma: checklist of reported species and bibliography. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (76): 19 pp. - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S., Nandhini, T., Samuel, V., Sreeraj, C., Abhilash, K., Purvaja, R., & Ramesh, R. 2019. Marine snakes of Indian coasts: historical resume, systematic checklist, toxinology, status, and identification key. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 11(1), 13132-13150 - get paper here
  • Kharin V E 1984. Sea snakes of the genus Hydrophis sensu lato (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae) on taxonomic status of the New Guinea H. obscurus [in Russian]. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 63 (4) : 630-632
  • 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, Alan E.; Guinevere O.U. Wogan; Michelle S. Koo; George R. Zug; Rhonda S. Lucas and Jens V. Vindum 2003. The Dangerously Venomous Snakes of Myanmar Illustrated Checklist with Keys. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 54 (24): 407–462 - get paper here
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
  • Russell, P. 1801. A continuation of an account of Indian serpents: containing descriptions and figures from specimens and drawings, transmitted from various parts of India to the hon. Court of Directors of the East Indian Company. Volume 2. London, W. Bulmer and Co for G. and W. Nicol., pp. i–v + 1–12, pls. 1–10, [see Adler 2015 for details] - get paper here
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • 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.
  • Wall, FRANK 1921. Ophidia Taprobanica or the Snakes of Ceylon. Colombo Mus. (H. R. Cottle, govt. printer), Colombo. xxii, 581 pages - 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.
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