Vermicella annulata (GRAY, 1841)
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|Higher Taxa||Elapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Eastern Bandy-bandy, Bandy Bandy|
|Synonym||Calamaria annulata GRAY 1841: 443|
Elaps occipitalis DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1220
Vermicella lunulata KREFFT 1869: 79
Furina occipitalis BOULENGER 1896
Rhynchelaps latizonatus DE VIS 1905: 49
Vermicella annulata — SIMPSON 1973
Vermicella annulata — COGGER 1983: 239
Vermicella annulata — COGGER 2000: 696
Vermicella annulata — MATTISON 2007: 262
Vermicella annulata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 785
|Distribution||Australia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria)|
Type locality: Australia
|Types||Syntype: BMNH 19220.127.116.11, Swan River [in error], collector unknown, identified as holotype by Cogger et al. (1983). Description also based on an illustration by White (1790).|
Holotype: MNHP 3936, from Rio de Janeiro (errore) and Australia [Elaps occipitalis].
Holotype: AM 6684, from upper Burdekin River district, Qld. [Vermicella lunulata].
Holotype: QM J192, from Qld., Herberton, vide Covacevich (1971) [Rhynchelaps latizonatus].
|Diagnosis||Definition (genus): Vermicella is a group of five Australian elapid snake species characterized by a pattern of alternating black and white bands, an elongate cylindrical body, 15 dorsal scalerows, divided anal plate and subcaudal scales,rounded rostral scale,small eyes,neck not distinct from head. and a short blunt tail. There are six supralabial scales,third and fourth entering orbit; six infralabials; two postoculars; single anterior temporal; single posterior temporal; preocular contacts nasal; nostril located medially in an undivided nasal scale; internasal scales free (V. intermedia and V. multifasciata) or fused to prefrontals (V. annulata, V. snelli, and V. vermiformls).Dorsal scale rows at one head length posterior to the head (neck), midbody. and one head length anterior to the vent almost invariably number 15.The entire dorsal surface displays an alternating black and white banded pattern while the ventral surface may display the same pattern (with the bands simply encircling the body), or a black and white mottled pattern.|
Ventral scales number from 195 (V. annulata) to 315 (V. snelli); subcaudal scalesfrom 10 (V. annulata) to 29 (V. vermiforrus);total number of black and white body and tail bandsfrom 48 (V. annulata) to 188 (V. multifasciata); and tail length from 3.47oh SVL (female V. snelli) to 9.68% SVL (male V. annulata) (from Keogh & Smith 1996).
McDowell (1970)provides a thorough description of external and internal morphological features of V. annulata and considers its relationship to other genera (from Keogh & Smith 1996).
Diagnosis (genus): Vermicella can be distinguished from all other Australian snakes by the distinctive pattern of black and white alternating bands. Simoselaps anomalus, S. bertholdi, and S. littoralis have an alternating pattern of black and a non-white colour such as creamy-yellow or reddish-brown and a more pointed as opposed to a more rounded rostrum (Cogger, 1992, cited in Keogh & Smith 1996).
Diagnosis: Vermicella annulata has fewer ventral scales than V. multifasciata, V.snelli, and V. vermiformis and has fewer body bands than V . multifasciata (Fig. 4). Vermicella annulata tends to be slightly wider-bodied than the other species. Vermicella annulata can be further differentiated from V . intermedia and V . multifasciata by the condition of the internasal scales (present in V . annulara),and band width (black and white bands on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces are at least one or two scales wider in V . annulata than in V . intermedia and V . multifasciata). See Figs 4-6 for interspecific comparisons in these characters (from Keogh & Smith 1996).
|Comment||Synonymy after COGGER 1983.|
Type species: Calamaria annulata GRAY 1841: 443 is the type species of the genus Vermicella GRAY in GÜNTHER 1858.
Behavior: Vermicella are generally burrowing, nocturnal hunters.
Diet: blind snakes of the genus Anilios
|Etymology||Named after the diminutive form (“annul-”) of Latin “anus” = ring.|
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