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Naja ashei WÜSTER & BROADLEY, 2007

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ashe’s spitting cobra 
SynonymNaja ashei WÜSTER & BROADLEY 2007
Naja (Afronaja) ashei — WALLACH et al. 2009
Naja ashei — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 599
Naja ashei — LIVIGNI 2013: 405
Afronaja ashei — WALLACH et al. 2014: 9
Naja ashei — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 557 
DistributionKenya, S Somalia, SE Ethiopia, NE Uganda, NE Tanzania, Republic of South Sudan (RSS)

Type locality: Watamu, Kenya (3° 21’S: 40° 01’E).  
TypesHolotype: NMK S/3993, female, National Museums of Kenya, coll. Royjan Taylor, maintained in captivity at Bio-Ken Snake farm until 29/09/2004. Paratypes: BMNH. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Naja ashei differs from all other African spitting cobras in possessing a unique clade of mtDNA haplotypes. From the data presented here, we identified 12 fixed nucleotide differences that differentiate N. ashei from the other eastern African spitting Naja. These correspond to positions 105, 169 and 315 of the ND4 sequence of the holotype (DQ897706), and to positions 60, 108, 153, 201, 348, 381, 507, 630 and 676 of the cytochrome b sequence of the same specimen (DQ897749), the diagnostic bases at these positions being C, T, G, C, G, T, T, T, A, C, T and A, respectively. 
EtymologyNamed after the late James Ashe (1925–2004), in recognition of his contributions to East African herpetology, of the inspiration he gave to others working on the herpetofauna of this part of the world (see Spawls, 2004), of his early recognition of the distinctiveness of the species that now bears his name, and in gratitude for his support for this work. 
  • BRANCH, W.R., MENEGON, M., & BERADUCCI, J. 2010. Naja ashei (Wüster & Broadley, 2007). African Herp News (52): 21-23 - get paper here
  • Hörold, Ralf 2019. Die echten Kobras und ihre Gifte Ophidia 13 (1): 18-26
  • Kwet, A. 2007. Naja ashei, eine neue Riesenspeikobra aus Afrika Terraria (8) 2 (6): 37.
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • LiVigni, F. (ed.) 2013. A Life for Reptiles and Amphibians, Volume 1. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 495 pp. - get paper here
  • Malonza, Patrick K.; David M. Mulwa, Joash O. Nyamache, Georgina Jones 2017. Biogeography of the Shimba Hills ecosystem herpetofauna in Kenya. Zoological Research 38(5): 1-11 - get paper here
  • Spawls, Stephen; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Wallach, V.; Wüster, W. & Broadley, D.G. 2009. In praise of subgenera: taxonomic status of cobras of the genus Naja Laurenti (Serpentes: Elapidae). Zootaxa 2236: 26–36 - 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.
  • Wüster, W. & Broadley, D.G. 2007. Get an eyeful of this: a new species of giant spitting cobra from eastern and north-eastern Africa (Squamata: Serpentes: Elapidae: Naja). Zootaxa 1532: 51–68 - get paper here
  • Wüster, Wolfgang; Steven Crookes, Ivan Ineich, Youssouph Mané, Catharine E. Pook, Jean-Francois Trape, Donald G. Broadley 2007. The phylogeny of cobras inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences: Evolution of venom spitting and the phylogeography of the African spitting cobras (Serpentes: Elapidae: Naja nigricollis complex). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45: 437–453 - get paper here
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