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Hydrophis ornatus (GRAY, 1842)

IUCN Red List - Hydrophis ornatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesHydrophis ornatus godeffroyi (PETERS 1873)
Hydrophis ornatus maresinensis (MITTLEMAN 1947)
Hydrophis ornatus ornatus (GRAY 1842) 
Common NamesE: Ornate Reef seasnake
Farsi: Mâr-e daryâï-ye ârâsteh
Chinese: 淡灰海蛇 
SynonymAturia ornata GRAY 1842: 61
Hydrophis laevis LÜTKEN 1863
Hydrophis ellioti GÜNTHER 1864
Hydrophis ornata — GÜNTHER 1864
Hydrophis Ellioti — BOULENGER 1887: 408
Distira andamanica ANNANDALE 1905
Distira mjobergi LÖNNBERG & ANDERSSON 1913
Hydrophis lamberti SMITH 1917
Disteira ornata — TAYLOR 1922
Hydrophis inornatus — SMITH 1926
Hydrophis ornatus — SMITH 1943
Hydrophis (Aturia) ornatus — MCDOWELL 1972: 229
Hydrophis ornatus — TAMIYA et al. 1983
Aturia ornata — WELCH 1994: 25
Hydrophis ornatus — MURPHY, COX & VORIS 1999
Hydrophis ornatus — COGGER 2000: 718
Chitulia ornata — KHARIN 2005
Hydrophis ornatus — NGUYEN et al. 2009
Hydrophis ornatus — WILSON & SWAN 2010: 530
Hydrophis ornata — RASMUSSEN et al. 2011
Chitulia ornata — KHARIN & DOTSENKO 2012
Hydrophis ornatus — SANDERS et al. 2012
Chitulia ornata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 166
Chitulia ornata — CHAN-ARD et al. 2015: 278

Hydrophis ornatus godeffroyi PETERS 1873
Hydrophis godeffroyi PETERS 1873
Distira godeffroyi — BOULENGER 1896: 291
Disteira godeffroyi — STEJNEGER 1907: 430
Hydrophis godeffroyi — MITTLEMAN 1947
Hydrophis ornatus godeffroyi — NGUYEN et al. 2009: 407

Hydrophis ornatus maresinensis MITTLEMAN 1947
Hydrophis ornatus maresinensis MITTLEMAN 1947: 3
Hydrophis ornatus maresinensis — GORIS & MAEDA 2004: 254
Hydrophis ornatus maresianus — NGUYEN et al. 2009: 407 (in error)

Hydrophis ornatus ornatus (GRAY 1842)
Aturia ornata GRAY 1842
Distira ornata BOULENGER 1896
Hydrophis ornatus ornatus — MITTLEMAN 1947
Hydrophis ornatus ornatus — NGUYEN et al. 2009: 407 
DistributionIndian Ocean (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India (Kerala), Indonesia (Borneo), Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar,
South Chinese Sea (China: Coasts of Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Taiwan, Shandong), Japan (Ryukyu),
Persian Gulf (Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iran) through Indian Ocean
Indoaustralian Archipelago, Philippines, Gulf of Thailand,
Australia (Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales)

New Caledonia/Loyalty Islands, Solomon Islands [McCoy 2000]

godeffroyi: Vietnam, Japan,

maresinensis: Japan, China

Type locality: not given  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.23.72
Holotype: BMNH III.g.9.a [ocellatus]
type: ZMUC [laevis]
Holotype: NRM [Distira mjobergi]
Holotype: USNM 33933, paratype: USNM [maresinensis]
Holotype: ZMB 7593 [godeffroyi] 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: Scales on thickest part of body more or less hexagonal in shape, feebly imbricate or juxtaposed; 10–13 maxillary teeth behind fangs; head large; body robust, not elongate, greatest diameter posteriorly about twice that of the neck; 1 preocular; 2 postoculars; 2 anterior temporals; –8 upper labials; scale rows on neck:•28–3,•31–45, on thickest part of body,•33–45,•39–55 (increase from neck to midbody 4–12); ventrals distinct throughout, in • 209–260, in •236–312, anteriorly ventrals about twice as large as adjacent scales, narrowing posteriorly; above grayish or light olive to almost white with broad dark bars or rhomboidal spots separated by narrow interspaces; below yellowish or whitish [after LEVITON 2003, see also REZAIE-ATAGHOLIPOUR et al. 2016]

Diagnosis (maresinensis): Ventrals 209-252 (males), 236-258 (females); neck scales 23-33 (males), 31-39 (females); body scales 33-43 (males), 39-51 (females); anterior and posterior sublingual about equal in size; dorsal cross-bars approximatoly 47-50 (Mittleman 1947)

Comparisons (maresinensis): Mittleman 1947

Variation (maresinensis): Mittleman 1947

Characters (Aturia): “Anterior portion of maxilla not or only slightlyarched upward, so that the tip of the fang lies quite distinctly below a straight line connecting the tips of the solid maxillary teeth; palatine usually without any process for the maxilla, but sometimes with a tubercle at its point of contact with the maxilla in H. (A.) torquatus; sphenoid entering broadly into the margin of the anterior orifice of the cavum epiptericum; quadrate with at least a slight back- ward inclination (nearly vertical in some, such as H. (A.)caerulescens,to strongly inclined backward, as in H. (A.)ornatus);tooth rows moderate to long: solid maxillary teeth 6 to
18; palatine teeth 6 to 10; pterygoid teeth 15 to 27; dentary teeth 16 to 26; areolar portion of tracheal lung extending to within three head-lengths of head; heart at midbody or more anteriorly placed, at the meeting of the anterior one-third with the posterior two-thirds of the trunk.” (McDowell 1972: 226)

Synonymy: According to GOLAY et al. 1993, Hydrophis ornatus godeffroyi has been synonymized with Hydrophis ornatus ornatus. COGGER 2000 questions the validity of ocellatus without giving specific reasons. By contrast, Hydrophis ornatus ocellatus has been treated as valid species more recently, but does not occur in Australia (Rasmussen et al. 2014).

Habitat: marine.

Distribution: For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013. Not in Hong Kong fide Francis 2021

Type species: Aturia ornata GRAY 1842: 61 is the type species of the genus Aturia GRAY 1842, now considered as a synonym of Hydrophis. 
EtymologyHydrophis ornatus godeffroyi has been named after Johann Cesar Godeffroy (1813-1885), a German merchant who founded the Museum Godeffroy in 1861.  
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