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Hydrophis viperinus (SCHMIDT, 1852)

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Viperine Sea Snake
Farsi: Mâr-e daryâï-ye af ’ ïshekl 
SynonymThalassophis viperina SCHMIDT 1852: 79
Diseira praescutata DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1331
Hydrophis doliata FISCHER 1856: 56 (not of LACÉPÈDE 1804)
Hydrophis nigra 1872
Hydrophis plumbea MURRAY 1887: 34
Hydrophis jayakari BOULENGER 1887: 408
Hydrophis schistosus BOULENGER 1896
Distira viperina — BOULENGER 1896 : 298
Disteira viperina — STEJNEGER 1907: 434
Praescutata viperina — WALL 1921: 391
Thalassophina viperina — SMITH 1926
Praescutata viperina — SMITH 1943: 448
Lapemis viperina — MCDOWELL & JENNER 1988
Thalassophina viperina — GOLAY et al. 1993: 247
Thalassophina viperinus — WELCH 1994: 111
Thalassophina viperina — RASMUSSEN 1997: 23
Thalassophina viperina — MURPHY, COX & VORIS 1999
Praescutata viperina — DAVID & INEICH 1999
Thalassophis viperinus — GROSSMANN & TILLACK 2001
Praescutata viperina — VAN DER KOOIJ 2001
Praescutata viperina — KHAN 2002 (pers. comm.)
Praescutata viperina — SHARMA 2004
Thalassophis viperina — DAVID et al. 2004
Praescutata viperina — KHARIN 2005
Thalassophina viperina — RASMUSSEN et al. 2011
Hydrophis viperinus — SANDERS et al. 2012 [by implication]
Thalassophina viperina — WALLACH et al. 2014: 716 
DistributionIndian Ocean, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,
South Chinese Sea, northeast to coastal region of Fujian and Strait of Taiwan, Vietnam, China (Chinese Sea),
Persian Gulf (Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, etc.) to Bay of Bengal
coasts of Malay Peninsula and Indonesia (Java, Borneo, Sumatra)
Gulf of Thailand, Myanmar (= Burma).

Type locality: Java. 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 
TypesHolotype: ZMH 404 
CommentVenomous!

Synonymy partly after STEJNEGER 1907. FISCHER’s (1856) description of Hydrophis doliata was apparently based on SCHMIDT’s type of Thalassophis viperina (according to STEJNEGER 1907).

The question of priority (Thalassophina vs. Praescutata) arises because of uncertainty of just when the errata notice that accompanies Wall’s original description of the genus was inserted into his publication, before or after distribution had begun (for details see LEVITON et al. 2003 or DAVID & INEICH 1999).

Type species: Thalassophis viperina Schmidt 1852 is the type species of the genus Thalassophina Smith, 1926:33.

DIAGNOSIS: Scales hexagonal, juxtaposed, in 27–34 rows on the neck, 37–50 at midbody; ventrals 226–274, anteriorly about half the width of the body, narrowing posterior to about twice the width of the adjacent scales, or slightly less; head shields entire, nostrils superior, nasal shields in contact with one another; prefrontals longer than broad, not in contact with upper labials; 1, rarely 2, pre- and 1–2 postoculars; 7–9 upper labials, 3–5 bordering eye (sometimes only 3–4 or 4–5); usually 1 anterior temporal, occasionally 2 or 3; body color, more or less bicolored, gray above, white below, the 2 usually clearly demarked on the sides, often with 25–35 dark rhomboidal spots, rarely with dark bands. Total length males 925 mm, females 820 mm; tail length males 100 mm, females 80 mm. [after LEVITON 2003]

Diagnosis: REZAIE-ATAGHOLIPOUR et al. 2016: 140.

Habitat: marine. 
References
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Description of a new snake from Afghanistan. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (5) 20: 413-414 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1887. A list of the reptiles and batrachians obtained near Muscat, Arabia, and presented to the British Museum by Surgeon-Major A.S.G. Jayakar. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5) 20: 407-408 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger,G.A. 1888. Description of two new snakes from Hongkong, and note on the dentition of Hydrophis viperina. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 2: 43-44 - get paper here
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