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Naja kaouthia LESSON, 1831

IUCN Red List - Naja kaouthia - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Monocled Cobra, Monocellate Cibra
G: Monokelkobra
Chinese: 孟加拉眼镜蛇 
SynonymNaja kaouthia LESSON 1831: 22
Naja tripudians var. fasciata GRAY 1830
Naia tripudians var. fasciata — HARDWICKE & GRAY 1835
Naja larvata CANTOR 1839
Naga tripudians monocellata NICHOLSON 1874
Naia tripudians var. fasciata — BOULENGER 1896
Naja tripudians viridis WALL 1913
Naja kaothia – WALL 1913 (nomen incorrectum)
Naja naja sputatrix BOURRET 1937
Naja naja kaouthia — SMITH 1940
Naja kaouthia kaouthia — DERANIYAGALA 1960
Naja naja kauothia – KABARA & FISCHER 1972 (nomen incorrectum)
Naja naja kaouthia — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Naja naja kaouthia — GOLAY 1985: 45
Naja kaouthia suphanensis NUTAPHAND 1986
Naja kauthia – KHOLE 1991 (nomen incorrectum)
Naja naja combodia KHOLE 1991 (lapsus calami)
Naja kaouthia — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 423
Naja kaouthia — COX et al. 1998: 26
Naja naja kaouthia — SHARMA 2004
Naja (Naja) kaouthia — WALLACH et al. 2009
Naja kaouthia — WALLACH et al. 2014: 460
Naja kauthia — PRADHAN et al. 2014 (in error) 
DistributionBangladesh, Myanmar (= Burma), Cambodia, NE India (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, West Bengal, Orissa = Odisha, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland), Bhutan, Laos, N Malaysia,
S China (Yunnan), Thailand, S Vietnam

Type locality: Bengal [India]  
TypesHolotype: unknown (fide LEVITON et al. 2003) 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS (DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERS).— Body scales smooth, arranged in 19–21 (usually 21) longitudinal rows at mid-body; throat pale, scarcely any dark mottling, often followed by a single dark band, ventrolateral throat spots distinct; remainder of venter either pale or increasingly cloudy with darker pigmentation towards the rear; in adults, hood markings usually distinct, usually a pale, oval or circular marking, with a dark center and occasionally a narrow dark outer border; occasionally 1 or 2 dark spots are present in the pale oval; fangs not modified for spitting, venom discharge orifice large; ventrals 164–196; subcaudals 43–58. Total length 1500 mm; tail length 230 mm (according to Smith [1943:429] larger specimens have been recorded, but they are rare). [after LEVITON 2003]

Diagnosis: “(1) body scales smooth, scale rows at anterior body 22–29 (26.3 ± 2.2, n = 12), mid‐body 19–28 (21.4 ± 2.3, n = 13), posterior body 13–20 (14.8 ± 1.8, n = 12); (2) ventrals 179–199 (188.7 ± 5.9, n = 12), subcaudals 46–57 (52.8 ± 2.9, n = 13); (3) to‐ tal length for adults 937–1712 mm (1266.4 ± 248.1 mm, n = 10), tail length 137–225 mm (174.1 ± 30.0 mm, n = 10), tail length/total length 0.126–0.159 (0.139 ± 0.009, n = 11, in‐ cluding adults and juveniles); (4) small scale between posterior chin shields mostly one (81%), rarely two (19%, n = 28); (5) dorsum of adults mostly brown, juveniles olive‐brown, yellowish‐brown, or deeper; (6) dorsal middle and posterior body and dorsal tail without crossbands or with irregular cross bands or multiple light‐colored cross bands pairs or densely woven lines; (7) throat pale without dark mottling, ventrolateral throat spots usu‐ ally distinct, usually followed by a broad dark band, the band occasionally light brown; (8) hood pattern usually a monocellate light brown or white circle, often with a large deep colored center and two lateral dots; in few cases, monocellate pattern absent; (9) popu‐ lations from lowlands of Bangladesh and adjacent area with multiple light‐colored cross‐ bands pairs or dense woven lines on body, or few with one or two clear crossbands on neck after hood, populations from mountainous area in southern slope of Himalayan without crossbands on body except few with one or two crossbands after hood, populations from Thailand and peninsular Malaysia light brown, populations from southern Vietnam deep brown; (10) spitting venom.” (Shi et al. 2022)

Variation. “(Figure 7) The coloration of South Asian clade Naja kaouthia varies be‐ tween geographical regions. The populations from the lowlands (Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura of India; Bangladesh) (Figure 7A–E) are yellowish‐brown or deep brown dor‐ sally, usually with distinct multiple dense light‐colored crossbands, or at least a distinct broad crossband on the neck behind the hood pattern; only one out of 16 individuals uni‐ formly brown dorsally. The populations from southern slope of Himalayan Mountains (Mizoram, Assam, and Sikkim of India; Bhutan, Nepal) uniformly brown in adults and mostly olive‐brown or deep brown in juveniles. Hood pattern usually a monocled light brown or white circle, often with a large deep colored center and two lateral dots; in few cases, monocled pattern absent (Figure 7F) or connected with light colored patches on lat‐ eral neck (Figure 7G). Adults and juveniles from lowlands in West Bengal and adjacent areas without multiple light‐colored crossbands on body or solely with one or two clear crossbands on neck after hood markings, only small part of populations from mountainous area along southern slopes of Himalayas without multiple crossbands on body.
The Southeastern Asian clade is also morphologically different across regions in col‐ oration. Adults from Thailand and peninsular Malaysia are light brown, the population from southern Vietnam is deep brown; juveniles usually darker, blackish brown, olive brown, or light brown (Figure 8). Ventrals of South Asian population 168–186 (177.8 ± 4.9, n = 18); subcaudals 49–58 (54.7 ± 2.4, n = 18); scale rows at anterior body 25–31 (27.0 ± 1.9, n = 20), mid‐body 20–23 (21.2 ± 0.7, n = 19), posterior body 15–17 (15.4 ± 0.8, n = 19); venom spitting behavior was not observed.” (Shi et al. 2022) 

Synonymy: partly after Shi et al. 2022.

The label "Naja naja siamensis" has been used in the toxinological literature for this species, not the real Naja siamensis.

Distribution: The northeastern population is genetically distinct and thus makes N. kaouthia paraphyletic with respect to N. atra and N. naja. Although it likely represents a separate species Ratnarathorn et al. 2019 did not name it or diagnose it. The latest IUCN assessment (Stuart & Wogan 2012) limits the species to east of Nepal, so that it does not appear in Nepal or west of Bangladesh. For a map see Shi et al. 2022: 3 (Fig. 1). 
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