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Hydrophis sibauensis RASMUSSEN, AULIYA & BÖHME, 2001

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Kalimantan Sea Snake 
SynonymHydrophis sibauensis RASMUSSEN, AULIYA & BÖHME, 2001
Hydrophis sibauensis — AULIYA 2006
Chitulia sibauensis — KHARIN 2005
Chitulia sibauensis — KHARIN & DOTSENKO 2012
Hydrophis sibauensis — SANDERS et al. 2012 (by implication)
Chitulia sibauensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 167 
DistributionWest Kalimantan (Indonesia, Borneo: River Sibau, an affluent of the River Kapuas)

Type locality: Sibau Kecil, Putussibau.  
TypesHolotype: ZMUC 661199; Paratypes: ZFMK 64889 male 

Habitat: freshwater; this species was found in a river 1000 km up-river from the coast.

Diagnosis: Hydrophis sibauensis has a combination of characters that place it in the genus Hydrophis as defined by Smith (1926): maxillary bone not extending for- ward beyond the palatine; poison-fang followed, after a diastema, by 1-18 teeth; pal- atine straight; nostrils superior; nasal shields in contact with each other; head shields large, regular (Fig. 3); and ventrals small, distinct throughout and normally entire [except H. cantoris and H. gracilis, which have the ventrals divided posteriorly (McDowell, 1972)]. Hydrophis sibauensis is clearly distinct from 25 of the 33 species in the genus us- ing only three external characters: number of ventrals, number of scale rows around neck, and number of scale rows around body. Hydrophis sibauensis is distinct from the following 18 species in having lower number of ventrals (Table 1): H. atriceps, H. brookii, H. cantoris, H. cyanocinctus, H. elegans, H. fasciatus, H. kingii, H. klos- si, H. mamillaris, H. nigrocinctus, H. ob- scurus, H. pacificus, H. parviceps, H. semper, H. spiralis, H. stricticollis, H. vorisi, and H. walli (Bussarawit et al., 1989; Cog- ger, 1975, 1992; Cogger et al., 1983; Kharin, 1984a, 1989; McDowell, 1972; Smith, 1926, 1935, 1943; Taylor, 1963, 1965; our data). Hydrophis sibauensis is distinct from the following seven species in having lower number of scale rows around the neck and/or lower number of scale rows around the body (Table 2): H. bituberculatus, H. cacrulescens, H. czeblukovi, H. inornatus, H. lamberti, H. major, and H. ornatus (Rasmussen, 1989, 1992; Rasmussen and Smith, 1997; Smith, 1926; Toriba, 1994; our data). The remaining eight species in Hydro- phis can be separated from H. sibauensis using a combination of external and inter- nal characters. Hydrophis gracilis is easily distinguished from H. sibauensis in having the ventrals divided by a longitudinal fur- row posteriorly, this furrow is absent in H. sibauensis. The following six species can be separated from H. sibauensis using a combination of number of ventrals, VS- heart, VB-body, and color pattern (Table 3): H. belcheri (as redefined by McCarthy and Warrell, 1991), H. coggeri, H. lape- moides, H. rnacdotvelli, H. melanocephal- us, and H. melanosoma (Cogger, 1975, 1992; Greer, 1997; Heatwole and Cogger, 1994; Kharin, 1983, 1984b; Mao and Chin, 1980; McCarthy and Warrell, 1991; Ras- mussen, 1993; Smith, 1926; Taylor, 1965; our data). In addition to Table 3, H. sibauiensis can be separated from H. belcheri and H. coggeri in having 20 ptery- goid teeth (14-17 in H. belcheri and 14- 15 in H. coggeri), from H. lapemoides in having one postocular (two or three in H. lapemoides), and from H. melanosoma in having seven maxillary teeth (5-6 in H. melanosoma). The last species, Hydrophis torquatus, is currently divided into three subspecies (Smith, 1926). Hydrophis sibauensis is dis- tinct from the three subspecies of H. torquatus using a combination of number of scale rows around neck, number of scale rows around body, number of ventrals, VS- heart, and VB-body (Table 4) (Smith, 1926; our data). The only specimen of H. torquatus taken from Borneo belongs to H. t. aagaardi (BMNH (Smith, 1926; Stuebing, 1991), and is distinct in having 35 scale rows around the neck (25- 26 in H. sibauensis), 46 scale rows around the body (35-37 in H. sibauensis), 145 VS- heart (108-109 in H. sibauensis), and 317 ventrals (257-264 in H. sibauensis). 
  • Auliya, M. 2006. Taxonomy, Life History, and conservation of giant reptiles in west Kalimantan. Natur und Tier Verlag, Münster, 432 pp. - 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
  • Kharin, V.E. & Dotsenko I.B. 2012. The First Record of the Sea Snake Chitulia inornata Gray, 1849 from the Arabian Sea with Notes on the Composition of the Genus Chitulia Gray, 1849 (Serpentes: Hydrophiidae). [in Russian and English]. Russian Journal of Marine Biology 38 (1): 35–42
  • Kharin, Vladimir E. and Vladimir P. Czeblukov 2007. On First Reliable Record of the Sea Snake Chitulia belcheri (Gray, 1849) from Australian Waters, with Notes on Species Composition and Taxonomic Status of the Genus Chitulia (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae). Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 33 (3): 161–165.
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - 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
  • 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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