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Toxicocalamus spilorhynchus KRAUS, KAISER & O'SHEA, 2022

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymToxicocalamus spilorhynchus KRAUS, KAISER & O'SHEA 2022: 1021
Toxicocalamus loriae X T. stanleyanus (part) – MCDOWELL 1969: 485
Toxicocalamus loriae Clade 2 – STRICKLAND et al. 2016: 671 
DistributionPapua New Guinea

Type locality: Saiko, 11 km SW Garaina, 7.9538°S, 147.0567°E, elevation 1856 m, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.  
TypesHolotype. BPBM 41381, an adult female collected by Allen Allison on 15 February 2012.
Paratypes (n = 12). Papua New Guinea: Morobe Prov- ince: same locality as holotype, BPBM 41390; Amu Creek, near Garaina, 7.9555°S, 147.0569°E, elev. 1660 m, BPBM 41391; Garaina, 7.89°S, 147.14°E, elev. 770 m, AMNH R-95624, R-101101, R-101103, R-103681, R-107203–04, MCZ R-152428–29, R-152431; Saurere, 7 km W Garaina, 7.9222°S, 147.0878°E, elev. 1440 m, PNGM 22767. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “A moderately sized member of the T. loriae Group (SVL up to 600 mm) with the following unique combination of characters: two scales covering vent; three infralabials contacting first genial; a single intergenial between posterior genials, widest posteriorly; preocular contacting nasal (87%) or not (13%), not contacting internasal (93.3%); relatively long snout (SNL/SNW mean = 1.16, range = 0.99–1.40); relatively large eye (EY/SNL mean = 0.22, range = 0.17–0.24); two postoculars (93%); usually three (67%) posterior temporals; ventral scale count sexually dimorphic with overlap (t12 = 3.7381, p = 0.001416), 172–184 ventrals in eight males, 178–197 in six females; subcaudals sexually dimorphic without overlap, 43–57 in males, 20–29 in females; SCR strongly sexually dimorphic, with the relative contribution of subcaudal scale number in males twice what it is in females (20.0–24.0 in males, 10.0–13.1 in females); pale parietal blotch usually absent (present in four small specimens); pale markings on prefrontals present; and venter uniformly yellow.” (Kraus et al. 2022) 
EtymologyNamed after the Greek σπίλος (spilos = spot) and ῥῠ́γχος (rhynchos = snout), in recognition of the distinctive prefrontal blotch that typifies the species. 
  • Kraus, F., Kaiser, H., & O’Shea, M. 2022. Hidden diversity in semi-fossorial Melanesian forest snakes: A revision of the Toxicocalamus loriae complex (Squamata, Elapidae) from New Guinea. Vertebrate Zoology, 72, 997-1034 - get paper here
  • McDowell, Samuel B. 1969. Toxicocalamus, a New Guinea genus of snakes of the family Elapidae. Journal of Zoology, London 159: 443-511 - get paper here
  • Strickland, J. L., Carter, S., Kraus, F. and Parkinson, C. L. 2016. Snake evolution in Melanesia: origin of the Hydrophiinae (Serpentes, Elapidae), and the evolutionary history of the enigmatic New Guinean elapid Toxicocalamus. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.doi: 10.1111/zoj.12423 - get paper here
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