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Laticauda schistorhyncha (GÜNTHER, 1874)

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Laticaudinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Flat-tail Sea Snake 
SynonymPlaturus schistorhynchus GÜNTHER 1874
Platurus schistorhynchus — WERNER 1913: 31
Laticauda semifasciata schistorhynchus GUINEA 1994: 227
Laticauda schistorhyncha — WELCH 1994: 71
Pseudolaticauda schistorhynchus — KHARIN 2005
Laticauda schistorhyncha — HEATWOLE et al. 2005
Pseudolaticauda schistorhynchus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 592
Laticauda schistorhynchus — FELDMAN et al. 2015
Laticauda schistorhyncha — HEATWOLE et al. 2017 
DistributionIndonesian Sea, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Polynesia; Niue (see comment).

Type locality: Niue (= Savage) Island  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.1. 6.95 – 98 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Differs from P. semifasciata in having fewer ventral shields, in its smaller size and number of cross bands. Ventrals 187 – 197. Subcaudals 38 – 40 (males) and 32 – 35 (females). Number of body vertebrae 189 – 198, number of tail vertebrae 36 – 44. Snout-vent length 670 (males) and 750 mm (females). Tail length 100 (males) and 110 mm (females).

“This species as currently understood is restricted to the tiny island of Niue in the south Pacific. It was split from L. semifasciata, which has a broader distribution (from the Ryukyu Islands of Japan south through Taiwan, the Philippines, and down to Indonesia and Samoa). This information is based on discussions with Hal Cogger, formerly of the Australian Museum.” (Robert N. Reed, pers. comm.)

Habitat: marine.

Distribution: See maps in Gherghel et al. 2016, Heatwole et al. 2017. 
  • Gherghel I, Papeş M, Brischoux F, Sahlean T, Strugariu A 2016. A revision of the distribution of sea kraits (Reptilia, Laticauda) with an updated occurrence dataset for ecological and conservation research. ZooKeys 569: 135-148, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.569.6975 - get paper here
  • Gopalakrishnakone, P., ed. 1994. Sea Snake Toxinology. Singapore University Press, Kent Ridge, Singapore, 249 pp.
  • Guinea, M.L. 2002. Ecology, systematics, and biogeography of sea snakes. PhD thesis, Northern Territory University, Darwin.
  • Günther, A.C.L.G. 1874. A contribution to the Fauna of Savage Island. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1874: 295-297 - get paper here
  • Heatwole, H.; Busack, S. & Cogger, H. 2005. Geographic variation in sea kraits of the Laticauda colubrina complex (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae: Laticaudini). Herpetological Monographs 19: 1-136 - get paper here
  • Heatwole, Harold; Alana Grech, and Helene Marsh 2017. Paleoclimatology, Paleogeography, and the Evolution and Distribution of Sea Kraits (Serpentes; Elapidae; Laticauda). Herpetological Monographs 31 (1): 1-17. - get paper here
  • Kharin, V.E. & Hallermann, J. 2009. Distribution of a Little-Known Sea Krait Pseudolaticauda schistorhynchus (Günther, 1874) (Serpentes: Laticaudidae). Russian Journal of Marine Biology 35 (5): 437–440. - get paper here
  • Kharin, Vladimir E. and Vladimir P. Czeblukov 2006. A New Revision of Sea Kraits of Family Laticaudidae Cope, 1879 (Serpentes: Colubroidea). Russ. J. Herpetol. 13 (3): 227-241
  • Kharin, Vladimir E.; Jakob Hallermann 2009. Annotated catalogue of sea kraits (Laticaudidae) and sea snakes (Hydrophiidae) of the herpetological collection of the Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg. Mitt. hamb. zool. Mus. Inst. 106: 51-67
  • Shine, Richard; Claire Goiran, Catherine Shilton, Shai Meiri, Gregory P Brown 2019. The life aquatic: an association between habitat type and skin thickness in snakes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, blz136 - 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.
  • Werner, F. 1913. Neue oder seltene Reptilien und Frösche des Naturhistorischen Museums in Hamburg. Reptilien der Ostafrika-Expedition der Hamburger Geographischen Gesellschaft 1911/12. Leiter: Dr. E. Obst. Reptilien und Amphibien von Formosa. Jb. Hamb. wiss. Anst., 30 [1912], 2. Beiheft: 1-39, 40-45, 45-51 - get paper here
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