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Toxicocalamus ernstmayri O'SHEA, PARKER & KAISER, 2015

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Star Mountains Worm-Eating Snake 
SynonymToxicocalamus ernstmayri O'SHEA, PARKER & KAISER 2015
Toxicocalamus ernstmayri — O'SHEA et al. 2018
Micropechis ikaheka (collection name) 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Star Mountains)

Type locality: Wangbin village (5°14’26.72’’S, 141°15’31.92’’E), elevation 1,468 m (4,800 ft), near the Ok Tedi River, in the Star Mountains of the North Fly District, Western Province, PNG  
TypesHolotype: MCZ R-145946, an adult female 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Toxicocalamus ernstmayri is the largest known species in the genus Toxicocalamus and the only one with an SVL in excess of 1.0 m. It can be distinguished from all other known Toxicocalamus by the following combination of characters: large size (SVL of the holotype 1,100 mm), dorsum of head exhibiting the typical ‘‘colubrid–elapid dorsal nine- scute arrangement’’ (sensu O’Shea, 2005: 12) that comprises paired internasals, paired prefrontals, a frontal between the supraoculars, and paired parietals (Fig. 4A9), six supralabials, with third–fourth contacting the orbit (Fig. 4C9, D9); dorsal scales in 15– 15–15 rows; 203 ventrals, 29 subcaudals, mostly paired, a few single; divided anal plate, short tail terminating with spinous, cone-shaped terminal scale (Fig. 4E in O’Shea et al. 2015). 
CommentKnown only from two specimens (O’Shea et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after Ernst Mayr (1904-2005), German-American evolutionary biologist. 
  • Kemp, Christopher. 2017. The Lost Species: Great Expeditions in the Collections of Natural History Museums. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, xxii, 250 pp. [ISBN: 9780226386218]
  • O'Shea MBE, M., Blum, P., & Kaiser, H. 2020. Discovery of the second specimen of Toxicocalamus ernstmayri O’Shea et al., 2015 (Squamata: Elapidae), the first from Papua Province, Indonesia, with comments on the type locality of T. grandis (Boulenger, 1914). Bonn zoological Bulletin 69 (2): 395–411 - get paper here
  • O’Shea M, Herlihy B, Paivu B, Parker F, Richards SJ, Kaiser H. 2018. Rediscovery of the rare Star Mountains Worm-eating Snake, Toxicocalamus ernstmayri O’Shea et al., 2015 (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae) with the description of its coloration in life. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 12(1): 27–34 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, Mark; Allen Allison, Hinrich Kaiser 2018. The taxonomic history of the enigmatic Papuan snake genus Toxicocalamus (Elapidae: Hydrophiinae), with the description of a new species from the Managalas Plateau of Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, and a revised dichotomous key. Amphibia-Reptilia 39 (4): 403-433 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, Mark; Fred Parker, and Hinrich Kaiser 2015. A New Species of New Guinea Worm-Eating Snake, Genus Toxicocalamus (Serpentes: Elapidae), From the Star Mountains of Western Province, Papua New Guinea, With a Revised Dichotomous Key to the Genus. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 161 (6): 241-264. - get paper here
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