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Oxyuranus scutellatus PETERS, 1867

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesOxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus (PETERS 1867)
Oxyuranus scutellatus canni SLATER 1956 
Common NamesE: scutellatus: Coastal taipan, New Guinea Taipan
canni: Papuan taipan
G: Taipan 
SynonymOxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus (PETERS 1867)
Pseudechis scutellatus PETERS 1867
Pseudechis wilesmithii DE VIS 1911
Pseudechis wilesmithii — LONGMAN 1913: 42
Pseudechis scutellatus — DE ROOIJ 1917: 269
Oxyuranus scutellatus — KINGHORN 1923
Oxyuranus scutellatus — THOMSON 1933
Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus — WELCH 1994: 97
Oxyuranus scutellatus — COGGER 2000: 662
Oxyuranus scutellatus barringeri HOSER 2002 (nom. nud. fide WÜSTER et al. 2005)
Oxyuranus scutellatus andrewwilsoni HOSER 2009
Oxyuranus scutellatus andrewwilsoni — HOSER 2012 (preliminary)
Oxyuranus scutellatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 521
Oxyuranus scutellatus — MIRTSCHIN et al. 2017

Oxyuranus scutellatus canni SLATER 1956
Oxyuranus scutellatus canni SLATER 1956
Oxyuranus scutellatus canni — WELCH 1994: 97
Oxyuranus scutellatus canni — O’SHEA 1996
Oxyuranus scutellatus adelynhoserae HOSER 2009
Oxyuranus scutellatus adelynhoserae — HOSER 2012 (preliminary)
Oxyuranus scutellatus canni — MIRTSCHIN et al. 2017 
DistributionS Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya),
Australia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)

canni: S Papua New Guinea; Type locality: “Napa Napa, Port Moresby”

scutellatus: Australia.

Type locality: “Rockhampton” [Queensland] [Pseudechis scutellatus PETERS 1867]  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 5883 (Pseudechis scutellatus PETERS 1867)
Holotype: NMV D8614, female, collected 1953 by K.R. Slater. [canni] 

This species is considered to be the third-most venomous species in the world (after Oxyuranus microlepidotus and Pseudonaja textilis; fide DOUGHTY et al. 2007).

Although the lack of mtDNA differentiation between New Guinea and Australian taipans makes the synonymization of the New Guinea subspecies O. s. canni with O. s. scutellatus very tempting, Wüster et al. (2004) refrain from this course of action due to the obvious and consistent differences in color pattern between the two forms, as well as our very limited sampling regime. The name O. s. barringeri, proposed for the populations from the Kimberley area of Western Australia by Hoser (2002), is a nomen nudum, as the description does not provide a diagnosis compliant with Article 13.1 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (Wüster et al. 2004).

Habitat: sugarcane fields and woodlands , savannah

Type species: Pseudechis scutellatus PETERS 1867 is the type species of the genus Oxyuranus KINGHORN 1923. 
  • Busack, Stephen D. 2014. Oxyuranus scutellatus (taipan) homing. Herpetological Review 45 (2): 340 - get paper here
  • Charlton, Tom; David Nixon 2021. Habitat-modification by an herbivorous marsupial benefits the Papuan Taipan, Oxyuranus scutellatus canni Slater 1956, within an anthropogenic environment in Central Province, Papua New Guinea. Reptiles & Amphibians 28 (2): 234-237
  • 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.
  • Covacevich, J., McDowell, S.B., Tanner, C. & Mengdon, G. 1980. The relationship of the taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and the small-scaled snake (O. microlepidotus), Serpentes: Elapidae. Proc. Aust. Herp. Symposium (Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, Parkville): 160-168.
  • de Rooij, N. DE 1917. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Il. Ophidia. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 334 S. - get paper here
  • Himmel, Torsten K. D. 2008. Die Frau, die den Taipan fand: Konkordia Amalie Dietrich (1821 - 1891), deutsche Südsee- und Australienforscherin aus Sachsen und Entdeckerin des Taipans (Oxyuranus scutellatus (Peters, 1867)). Sekretär 8 (1): - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2002. An overview of the taipans, genus (Oxyuranus) (Serpentes: Elapidae), including the description of a new subspecies. Crocodilian - J. Vic. Assoc. Amat. Herpetol. 3:43-50 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2009. Eight new taxa in the genera Pseudonaja Gunther 1858, Oxyuranus Kinghorn 1923, and Panacedechis Wells and Wellington 1985 (Serpentes:Elapidae). Australasian J. Herpetol. 4: 1-27 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2012. The description of a new genus of west Australian snake and eight new taxa in the genera Pseudonaja Gunther, 1858, Oxyuranus Kinghorn, 1923 and Panacedechis Wells and Wellington, 1985 (Serpentes: Elapidae). Australasian J. Herpetol. 11: 32-50 - get paper here
  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
  • Kinghorn, J.R. 1923. A new genus of elapine snake from north Australia. Rec. Austral. Mus. 14(1): 42–45 - get paper here
  • Mirtschin, P., Rasmussen, A.R. & Weinstein, S.A. 2017. Australia’s Dangerous snakes. CSIRO Publishing, 424 pp. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1867. Über Flederthiere (Pteropus gouldii, Rhinolophus deckenii, Vespertilio lobipes, Vesperugo temminckii) und Amphibien (Hypsilurus godeffroyi, Lygosoma scutatum, Stenostoma narirostre, Onychocephalus unguirostris, Ahaetulla poylepis, Pseudechis scutella Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1867 (November): 703-712 - 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
  • Slater, K.R. 1956. On the New Guinea taipan. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne 20: 201–205 - get paper here
  • Somaweera, R. 2009. Snakes of Darwin. Poster, University of Sydney
  • Strimple, Peter D.;Covacevich, Jeanette 1997. The Taipans of Australia & New Guinea. Reptiles 5 (12): 32-45
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 pp.
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., de Silva, A., Sivaruban, A. et al. 2022. Diversity, distribution, and natural history of the marine snakes of Sri Lanka. Marine Biodiversity 52, 24 (2022) - 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.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
  • Wüster, Wolfgang; Alex J. Dumbrell; Chris Hay; Catharine E. Pook; David J. Williams and Bryan Grieg Fry 2004. Snakes across the Strait: trans-Torresian phylogeographic relationships in three genera of Australasian snakes (Serpentes: Elapidae: Acanthophis, Oxyuranus, and Pseudechis). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 33 (3): 1-14 - get paper here
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