Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Article
Published: 2017-11-07

Additions to the description of Paroplocephalus atriceps (Serpentes: Elapidae) with a discussion on pupil shape in it and other Australian snakes

Snakes Harmful & Harmless, 9 Birch Place Stoneville WA 6081 Australia.
Reptilia ecology snake venom vertically elliptic

Abstract

Morphometric data on an additional twelve individuals of Paroplocephalus atriceps Storr are included enlarging Keogh et al.’s 2000 description of the genus and further verifying its affinities with Hoplocephalus. Included are comments on its venom and observations confirming arboreality and although primarily nocturnal, it includes some diurnal activity. Various authors have erroneously suggested it has vertically elliptic pupils but they are round. During an examination of snake’s eyes, it was found that several additional species have pupils that require re-describing, especially Suta fasciata Rosen, S. punctata Boulenger and Echiopsis curta Schlegel, all of which include individuals with round pupils. A standardised description is suggested for each of the three common pupil shapes in snakes as narrow elliptic where dilation and constriction is lateral or vertical only, wide elliptic where dilation and constriction is both lateral and vertical, and round where any dilation and constriction is equidistant from the centre around the pupil’s circumference.

 

References

  1. Allen, G.E., Wilson, S.K. & Isbister, G.K. (2013) Paroplocephalus envenoming: a previously unrecognised highly venomous snake in Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 199 (11), 792–793.
    https://doi.org/10.5694/mja13.10985

    Brischoux, L., Pizzatto, L. & Shine, R (2010) Insights into the adaptive significance of vertical pupil shape in snakes. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23, 1878–85.
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02046.x

    Browne-Cooper, R. & Maryan, B. (1988) Record of diurnal feeding in Vermicella bertholdi (Jan, 1859) (Serpentes: Elapidae). Herpetofauna, 18 (2), 25.

    Bush, B. (1981) Reptiles of the Kalgoorlie-Esperance Region. Bush, Esperance, WA, 46 pp.

    Bush, B., Maryan, B., Browne-Cooper, R. & Robinson, D. (2007) Reptiles and Frogs in the Bush: Southwestern Australia. UWA Press, Nedlands, WA, 302 pp.

    Bush, B., Maryan, B., Browne-Cooper, R. & Robinson, D. (2010) Field Guide to Reptiles & Frogs of the Perth Region. WA Museum, Welshpool, WA, 185 pp.

    Bush, B. & Maryan, B. (2011) Field Guide to Snakes of the Pilbara. WA Museum, Welshpool, WA, 112 pp.

    Bush, B. (2013) Perseverance Prevails: Captive Reproduction in the Spotted Mulga Snake. Scales and Tails, 29, 29-32.

    Cogger, H.G., Cameron, E.E. & Cogger, H.M. (1983) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 1. Amphibia and Reptilia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Camberra, 313 pp.

    Ehmann, H. (1992) Encyclopedia of Australian: Reptiles. Collins Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 495 pp.

    Ehmann, H. (1993) A field observation on the Lake Cronin Snake (Denisonia atriceps) and mineral exploration within its range. In: Lunney, D. & Ayres, D. (Ed.), Herpetology in Australia – A Diverse Discipline. Transactions of the Royal Zoological Society, NSW, pp. 346-348.

    Golay, P., Smith, H.M., Broadley, D.G., Dixon, J.R., McCarthy, C., Rage, J.C., Schätti, B. & Toriba, M. (1993) Endoglyphs and other major venomous snakes of the world. A Checklist. Azemiops, SA, Geneva, 497 pp.

    Greer, A. (1997) The Biology and Evolution of Australian Snakes. Surrey Beatty & Sons Pty Ltd, Chipping Norton, 358 pp.

    Keogh, S.J., Scott, I.A.W. & Scanlon, J.D. (2000) Molecular phylogeny of viviparous Australian elapid snakes: affinities of Echiopsis atriceps (Storr, 1980) and Drysdalia coronata (Schlegel, 1837), with a description of a new genus. Journal of Zoology London, 252, 317–326.
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2000.tb00626.x

    Lister, C., Arbuckle, K., Jackson, T.N.W., Debono, J., Zdenek, C.N., Dashevsky, D., Dunstan, N., Allen, L., Hay, C., Bush, B. & Gillett, A. (2017) Catch a tiger snake by the tail: Differential toxicity, co-factor dependence and antivenom efficacy in a procoagulant clade of Australian venomous snakes. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C, 202, 39–54.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpc.2017.07.005

    Maryan, B. & Bush, B. (1996) The Dugite or Spotted Brown Snake Pseudonaja affinis. Herpetofauna, 26 (2), 22-34.

    Scanlon, J.D. (2003) The Australian elapid genus Cacophis: Morphology and phylogeny of rainforest crowned snakes. Herpetological Journal, 13, 1-20.

    Scanlon, J.D. & Lee, M.S.Y. (2004) Phylogeny of Australasian venomous snakes (Colubroidea, Elapidae, Hydrophiinae) based on phenotypic and molecular evidence. Zoologica Scripta, 33 (4), 335–366.
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0300-3256.2004.00151.x

    Shine, R. (1982) Ecology of the Australian elapid snake Echiopsis curta. Journal of Herpetology, 16 (4), 388–193.
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1563569

    Shine, R. (1983) Food habits and reproductive biology of Australian elapid snakes of the genus Denisonia. Journal of Herpetology, 17 (2), 171-175.
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1563458

    Storr, G.M. (1980) A new Brachyaspis (Serpentes: Elapidae) from Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 8 (3), 397-399.

    Storr, G.M. (1984) Revision of Denisonia suta (Serpentes: Elapidae) and a description of a new species closely related to it. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 11 (3), 249-257.

    Storr, G.M., Smith, L.A. & Johnstone, R.E. (1986) Snakes of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA, 187 pp.

    Storr, G.M., Smith, L.A. & Johnstone, R.E. (2002) Snakes of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA, 309 pp.

    Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife (2015a) Critically endangered fauna (Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Conservation (Specially Protected Fauna) WA Department of Parks and Wildlife Notice 2015, 1–23.

    Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife (2015b) Wildlife Conservation (Specially Protected Fauna) Notice 2015. WA Government Gazette, 2015, 4532-4543.

    Wilson, S.K. & Knowles, D.G. (1998) Australia's Reptiles: A Photographic Reference to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia. Collins Publishers, Sydney, NSW, 447 pp.

    Wilson, S. & Swan, G. (2013) A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. 4th Edition. New Holland, Chatswood, NSW, 592 pp.