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Toxicocalamus loriae (BOULENGER, 1898)

IUCN Red List - Toxicocalamus loriae - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Hydrophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Loria forest snake 
SynonymApistocalamus loriae BOULENGER 1898: 705
Pseudapistocalamus nymani LÖNNBERG 1900
Apistocalamus pratti BOULENGER 1904: 451
Apisthocalamus loennbergii BOULENGER 1908
Apisthocalamus loriae — BOULENGER 1908
Apisthocalamus pratti — BOULENGER 1908
Apisthocalamus nymani — BOULENGER 1908
Apisthocalamus lamingtoni KINGHORN 1928 (fide WALLACH et al. 2014)
Apistocalamus pratti — PARKER 1936: 92
Toxicocalamus (Apistocalamus) loriae — MCDOWELL 1969: 455
Toxicocalamus loriae — WELCH 1994: 113
Apisthocalamus loennbergi — KOERBER 2009
Toxicocalamus loriae — KRAUS 2009
Toxicocalamus loriae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 732
Toxicocalamus loriae — O’SHEA et al. 2015 
DistributionIndonesia (Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea; elevation ~4000 feet (from A. pratti).

Type locality: Haveri, Central Province  
Reproductionoviparous; a specimen of Apistocalamus loennbergi, a synonym of T. loriae (MCZ R-119027) contained seven eggs (O’Shea et al. 2018: 422). 
TypesHolotype: MSNG 29141
Holotype: AMS R9351, Oro Province: Mt. Lamington [lamingtoni]
Lectotype: BMNH 1946.1.18.24, paralectotypes: BMNH 1946.1.18.25– 1946.1.18.26, both Indonesia: West Papua: north of Fakfak [Apisthocalamus loennbergii]
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.17.53, Papua New Guinea: Dinawa [Apistocalamus pratti]
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.14.54, Morobe Province: Sattleberg [Pseudapistocalamus nymani] 
DiagnosisDescription (genus Apistocalamus): Near Ogmodon, Ptrs. , and Toxicocalamus , Blgr. Maxillary extending forwards as far as the palatine, with 5 long grooved teeth gradually decreasing in length; mandibular teeth gradually decreasing in length. Head small, not distinct from neck; eye very small, with vertically subelliptic pupil; nostril pierced between the first upper labial, two nasals, and the internasal; a large praeocular, in contact with the posterior nasal. Body cylindrical; scales smooth, without pits, in 15 rows; ventrals rounded. Tail moderate; subcaudals in two rows (Boulenger 1898: 704).

Description (species, based on 1 specimen): Snout short, broadly rounded. Rostral a little broader than deep, the portion visible from above measuring one third its distance from the frontal; internasals small, about one third the length of the praefrontals; frontal a little longer than broad , as long as its distance from the end of the snout, much shorter than the parietals; praeocular single, twice as long as deep, forming a suture with the posterior nasal; two postoculars, upper much larger than lower; temporals 1 + 2; six upper labials, third and fourth entering the eye, sixth largest; three lower labials in contact with the anterior chin-shields; posterior chin-shields smaller , separated by a large scale. Scales in 15 rows. Ventrals 196; anal divided; subcaudals 48 + ?. (Boulenger 1898: 705).

Coloration: Dark greyish olive above; upper lip and lower parts yellowish, with three series of small dark spots along the ventrals; subcaudals dark , with light edges (Boulenger 1898: 705).

Size: Total length 580 mm; tail (injured) 90. 
CommentHabitat: fossorial (digging)

Behavior: diurnal


Type species: Apistocalamus loriae BOULENGER 1898 is the type species of the (sub-) genus Apistocalamus BOULENGER 1898: 705.

Conservation status: least concern; this is the most common Toxicocalamus species with 66% of all museum specimens belonging to this species. However, O’Shea et al. 2015 believes that this variable species represents a species complex.

Taxonomy: Strickland et al. (2016) document at least five undescribed species that all key morphologically to Toxicocalamus loriae. 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. Lamberto Loria (1855-1913), an Italian ethnologist who collected in New Guinea (1889-1890) and who founded the first Italian Museum of Ethnography, Florence (1906). 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1898. An account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Dr. L. Loria in British New Guinea. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, 18: 694—710 [1897?] - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1908. Description of a new elapine snake of the genus Apisthocalamus, Blg., from New Guinea. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (8) 1 (3): 248-249. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, GEORGE A. 1904. Descriptions of three new snakes. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (7) 13 (78): 450-452 - get paper here
  • Clegg, Jonathan R. and Merlijn Jocque 2015. The Collection of Snakes Made by Benoît Mys and Jan Swerts in Northern Papua New Guinea in 1982–85. Journal of Herpetology 50 (3): 476-485 [2016] - get paper here
  • Kinghorn, J. R. 1928. Notes on Some Reptiles and Batrachians from the Northern Division of Papua, With Descriptions of New Species of Apisthocalamus and Lygosoma. Rec. Austral. Mus. 16: 289-293. - get paper here
  • Koerber, S. 2009. From sponges to primates: emendation of 30 species nomina dedicated to the Swedish zoologist Einar Lönnberg. Zootaxa 2201: 63–68 - get paper here
  • Kraus, Fred 2009. NEW SPECIES OF TOXICOCALAMUS (SQUAMATA: ELAPIDAE) FROM PAPUA NEW GUINEA. Herpetologica 65 (4): 460 - get paper here
  • McDowell, Samuel B. 1969. Toxicocalamus, a New Guinea genus of snakes of the family Elapidae. Journal of Zoology, London 159: 443-511
  • 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, Mark; Allen Allison, Hinrich Kaiser 2018. The taxonomic history of the enigmatic Papuan snake genus Toxicocalamus (Elapidae: Hydrophiinae), with the description of a new species from the Managalas Plateau of Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, and a revised dichotomous key. Amphibia-Reptilia 39 (4): 403-433 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, Mark; Fred Parker, and Hinrich Kaiser 2015. A New Species of New Guinea Worm-Eating Snake, Genus Toxicocalamus (Serpentes: Elapidae), From the Star Mountains of Western Province, Papua New Guinea, With a Revised Dichotomous Key to the Genus. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 161 (6): 241-264. - get paper here
  • Parker, H.W. 1936. A collection of reptiles and amphibians from the mountains of British New Guinea. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (10) 17: 66-93 - 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.
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