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Myron richardsonii GRAY, 1849

IUCN Red List - Myron richardsonii - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaHomalopsidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Richardson’s mangrove snake 
SynonymMyron richardsonii GRAY 1849: 70
Myron Richardsonii — GÜNTHER 1859: 232
Neospades kentii DE VIS 1889
Myron richardsonii — LIDTH DE JEUDE 1911: 279
Myron richardsonii — COGGER 1983: 213
Myron richardsonii — COGGER 2000: 625
Myron richardsonii — MURPHY 2007: 204
Myron richardsonii — MURPHY 2011
Myron richardsonii — MURPHY & VORIS 2014: 30
Myron richardsonii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 467 
DistributionIndonesia (Aru Islands, Irian Jaya), Australia
Australia (Northern Territory, Western Australia)

Type locality: "N.-Western Australia", restricted to Buffalo Creek, Northern Territory, Australia (about 12°40'S and 131°29'E) by MURPHY 2011.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.2.43
Holotype: QM J681, from Cambridge Gulf, W. A. [Neospades kentii]. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Head distinct from neck; parietals entire; internasal usually single and separating nasals; loreal present; dorsal scales weekly keeled on posterior of body, and in 19–21 rows at mid body, usually reduced to 17 near the vent; ventrals broad; upper labials 2–3 or 2–4 contact loreal; upper labial 4 enters the orbit; enlarged occipital scales present; three pairs of chin shields present with the middle pair the longest. Note that this genus is gender neutral [from MURPHY 2011]. See MURPHY & VORIS 2014: 30 for an alternative diagnosis.

Diagnosis (species): A Myron with 21 scale rows on the neck and at mid body that are reduced to 17 or 19 rows near the vent; the posterior dorsal scale rows above row 6 are weakly keeled; two preocular scales; upper labials usually number 8 or 9; plate-like occipital scales located on the posterior edge of the parietals; 8 to 10 upper labials; and a dorsal pattern of blotches that number 35 to 48. The presence of 21 scale rows and two preoculars will distinguish it from M. resetari. The 8 to 10 upper labials and blotched pattern will separate it from M. karnsi which is melanistic with narrow yellow crossbands.

Eight males had 131–137 ventrals (x=133.8, sd=1.80) and 33–39 subcaudals (x=35.6, sd=1.76). Six females had 131–139 ventrals (x=135.5, sd=3.62) and five females had 30–34 subcaudals (x= 31.6, sd=1.82). While the ventral counts show no sexual dimorphism, the subcaudal counts based on this limited sample size most likely do.

Key to the Australian species of Myron:
resetari: One preocular scale on each side; fifth supralabial the largest
richardsonii: Two preocular scales on each side; sixth or seventh supralabial the largest (from Cogger 2014: 846).
CommentSynonymy after COGGER 1983.

Habitat: estuarine to marine. This is a sea snake.

Type species: Myron richardsonii GRAY 1849 is the type species of the genus Myron GRAY 1849. 
EtymologyNamed after Sir. J. Richardson, the collector of the holotype. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • De Vis, C. W. 1889. List of birds, lizards, and snakes collected at Cambridge Gulf, and descriptions of two new vertebrates in Mr Saville-Kent's collection. Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 6: 236-239 [1890 on title page] - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1849. Catalogue of the specimens of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Edward Newman, London, i-xv; 1-125. - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1859. On the geographical distribution of reptiles. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 3: 221-237 - get paper here
  • Gyi, Ko Ko 1970. A revision of colubrid snakes of the sub-family Homalopsinae. Univ. Kans. Publs. Mus. Nat. Hist 20 (2): 44-223 - get paper here
  • Lidth DE JEUDE, T.W. VAN 1911. Reptilien (Schlangen). Nova Guinea. Résultats de l’expedition scientifique néerlandaise à la Nouvelle Guinée en 1907 sous les auspices de Dr. H.A. Lorenz 9. Leiden (E. J. Brill), pp. 265-287
  • Murphy, J.C. 2011. THE NOMENCLATURE AND SYSTEMATICS OF SOME AUSTRALASIAN HOMALOPSID SNAKES (SQUAMATA: SERPENTES: HOMALOPSIDAE). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2011 59(2): 229–236 - get paper here
  • Murphy, J.C. & Voris, H.K. 2014. A Checklist and Key to the Homalopsid Snakes (Reptilia, Squamata, Serpentes), with the Description of New Genera. FIELDIANA: LIFE AND EARTH SCIENCES (8): 1–43 - get paper here
  • Murphy, John C. 2007. Homalopsid Snakes: Evolution in the Mud. Krieger Publishing, Malabar, Florida, 249 pp.
  • O'Shea,M. 1996. A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea. Independent Publishing, Port Moresby, xii + 239 pp. - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • 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
  • Somaweera, R. 2009. Snakes of Darwin. Poster, University of Sydney
  • 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.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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