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Laticauda guineai HEATWOLE, BUSACK & COGGER, 2005

IUCN Red List - Laticauda guineai - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Laticaudinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymLaticauda guineai HEATWOLE, BUSACK & COGGER 2005: 97
Laticauda guineai — WALLACH et al. 2014: 364 
DistributionPapua New Guinea

Type locality: Bava Island, near Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea  
TypesHolotype: AMS (AM) R69514; Collected by: Fred Parker
Collection Date: February 1 – March 22, 1977. Allotype: (n=1) Australian Museum R69515, Female, collected at Bava Island, near Port Moresby, Papua–New-Guinea by Fred Parker. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Laticauda guineai is most closely allied to Laticauda colubrina and is distinguished from that and all other species of the Laticauda colubrina complex by having a greater number (and narrower) dark and light bands around the body and tail; these dark bands attenuate to a lesser extent than for any other species in the complex except for Laticauda frontalis in which the dark bands often do not meet below. (Heatwole et al. 2005) Description of holotype.—Adult male; snout–vent length 790 mm, tail length 120 mm, tail length/body length ratio 0.132; azygous prefrontal present; head width (at mandibular-quadrate joint) 13.8 mm; head length (snout to mandibular-quadrate joint) 24 mm; one preocular; two postoculars; temporals 1þ2 (both sides); supralabials 7 on each side; third and fourth supralabial entering orbit on each side; infralabials 8 on each side but splenials encroaching on numbers 4 and 5; head color pattern A; dark body bands 57; dark tail bands 6; dark body bands completely encircle body; dorsally first dark body band 3 scale rows wide, tenth band 4 scale rows wide and 25th band 3 scale rows wide (counted on the diagonal, see methods); ventrally dark body bands one scale row wide at all three levels; dorsally first and tenth light body bands 5 scale rows wide, 25th light band 6 scale rows wide; scale rows around body 21 at level of 20th gastrostege, 22 at 50th gastrostege, 23 at 100th and 150th, 21 at 200th, and 19 at the level of the vent; gastrosteges 234; subcaudals 43. (Heatwole et al. 2005) 

Laticauda guineai is closely related to L. colubrina (Lee et al. 2016).

Habitat: marine.

Distribution: See maps in Gherghel et al. 2016, Heatwole et al. 2017. 
EtymologyNamed after Michael Leonard Guinea, in recognition of his contributions to sea snake biology, and its type locality. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Gherghel I, Papeş M, Brischoux F, Sahlean T, Strugariu A 2016. A revision of the distribution of sea kraits (Reptilia, Laticauda) with an updated occurrence dataset for ecological and conservation research. ZooKeys 569: 135-148, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.569.6975 - get paper here
  • Heatwole, H.; Busack, S. & Cogger, H. 2005. Geographic variation in sea kraits of the Laticauda colubrina complex (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae: Laticaudini). Herpetological Monographs 19: 1-136 - get paper here
  • Heatwole, Harold; Alana Grech, and Helene Marsh 2017. Paleoclimatology, Paleogeography, and the Evolution and Distribution of Sea Kraits (Serpentes; Elapidae; Laticauda). Herpetological Monographs 31 (1): 1-17. - get paper here
  • Lane, Amanda; Richard Shine 2011. Phylogenetic relationships within laticaudine sea snakes (Elapidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59 (3): 567-577 - get paper here
  • Lee, Michael S. Y.; Kate L. Sanders, Benedict King, Alessandro Palci 2016. Diversification rates and phenotypic evolution in venomous snakes (Elapidae). R. Soc. open sci., DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150277 - 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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