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Hydrophis semperi GARMAN, 1881

IUCN Red List - Hydrophis semperi - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Lake Taal Snake
G: Sempersche Ruderschlange, Taal-Seeschlange 
SynonymHydrophis semperi GARMAN 1881: 86
Distira semperi — BOULENGER 1896
Leioselasma semperi — KHARIN 1984
Leioselasma semperi — WELCH 1994: 72
Leioselasma semperi — KHARIN 2005
Hydrophis semperi — SANDERS et al.. 2012 (by implication)
Leioselasma semperi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 368 
DistributionPhilippines (Luzon: Lake Taal)

Type locality: Lake Taal, Luzon Island  
TypesHolotype: MCZ R-4352 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION. Head moderate, body not compressed anteriorly, greatest diameter about twice that of the neck; 6–8 maxillary teeth behind fangs; scales on body imbricate and with short keel, 29–21 around neck, 37–43 around body (increase of 10–12); ventrals 314–356, distinct throughout, bicarinate, about twice as broad as adjacent scales; precloacal scales enlarged; head black, body black with 50 to 60 narrow whitish bands of annuli, ventral scales usually black (from Leviton et al. 2014: 511).

Illustration (head): Kharin 1984: 1539 

Habitat: freshwater; this is one of a few “sea snakes” that appear to live exclusively in fresh water. Another one is H. sibauensis. 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. Carl Gottfried Semper (1832-1893), an anatomist, ethnologist, and zoologist. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Garcia, V.O.S., Papa, R.D.S. & Diesmos, A.C. 2017. Hydrophis semperi (Lake Taal Sea Snake) Behavior. Herpetological Review 48 (3): 673-674. - get paper here
  • GARCIA, Vhon Oliver S.; Rey Donne S.PAPA; Jonathan Carlo A.BRIONES; Norman MENDOZA; Noboru OKUDA; Arvin C.DIESMOS 2014. Food Habits and Distribution of the Lake Taal Sea Snake (Hydrophis semperi Garman 1881) and the Sympatric Little File Snake (Acrochordus granulatus Schneider 1799) in Lake Taal, Philippines. Asian Herpetological Research 5 (4): 255-262 doi 10.3724/SP.J.1245.2014.00255 - get paper here
  • Garman,S. 1881. New and little-known reptiles and fishes in the Museum collections. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 8: 85-93 - get paper here
  • Herre, Albert W. C. T. 1942. Notes on Philippine sea-snakes. Copeia 1942 (1): 7-9 - get paper here
  • Kharin V E 1984. A review of sea snakes of the group Hydrophis sensu lato (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae). 3. The genus Leioselasma [in Russian]. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 63 (10): 1535-1546
  • Kharin, V.E. 2005. On new findings of a rare sea snake Leioselasma czeblukovi Kharin, 1984, with remarks on species composition and taxonomical position of the genus Leioselasma Lacepede, 1804, (Serpentes: Hydrophiidae). Russian Journal of Marine Biology 31 (5): 269-272. - get paper here
  • Leviton, A.E., R.M. Brown, and C.D. Siler. 2014. The dangerously venomous snakes of the Philippine Archipelago. in The Coral Triangle: The 2011 Hearst Biodiversity Philippine Expedition (G.C. Williams and T.M. Gosliner, eds.). California Academy of Sciences, USA, Pp 473–530
  • Leviton, Alan E.; Cameron D. Siler, Jeffrey L. Weinell, and Rafe M. Brown 2018. Synopsis of the Snakes of the Philippines. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 64 (14): 399-568 - 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.
  • Weinell, Jeffrey L.; Errol Hooper, Alan E. Leviton, Rafe M. Brown 2019. Illustrated Key to the Snakes of the Philippines. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 66 (1): 1-49 - get paper here
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