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Type: Article
Published: 2018-07-16
Page range: 1–12
Abstract views: 693
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A new species of bandy-bandy (Vermicella: Serpentes: Elapidae) from the Weipa region, Cape York, Australia

Venom Evolution Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld 4067, AUSTRALIA
Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University, Swansea SA2, 8PP, UK
Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine Economic Animals, BGI Academy of Marine Sciences, BGI Marine, BGI, Shenzhen 518083, China;
Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine Economic Animals, BGI Academy of Marine Sciences, BGI Marine, BGI, Shenzhen 518083, China; Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL), Leiden University, 2333 BE, Leiden, The Netherlands
Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine Economic Animals, BGI Academy of Marine Sciences, BGI Marine, BGI, Shenzhen 518083, China; BGI Education Center, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518083, China
Ecotone Flora and Fauna Consultants, PO Box 9, Yungaburra, Qld 4884, Australia
Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine Economic Animals, BGI Academy of Marine Sciences, BGI Marine, BGI, Shenzhen 518083, China; BGI Education Center, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518083, China
Naturalis Biodiversity Center,Darwinweg 2, Postbus 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Venom Evolution Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld 4067, AUSTRALIA
Reptilia Australian Monsoonal Tropics mtDNA taxonomy Vermicella parscauda sp. nov.

Abstract

Bandy-bandies (genus Vermicella) are small (50–100cm) black and white burrowing elapids with a highly specialised diet of blindsnakes (Typhlopidae). There are currently 5 recognized species in the genus, all located in Australia, with Vermicella annulata the most encountered species with the largest distribution. Morphological and mitochondrial analyses of specimens collected from the Weipa area, Cape York, Queensland reveal the existence of a new species, which we describe as Vermicella parscauda sp. nov. Mitochondrial DNA analysis (16S and ND4) and external morphological characteristics indicate that the closest relatives of the new species are not V. annulata, which also occurs on Cape York, but rather species from Western Australia and the Northern Territory (V. intermedia and V. multifasciata) which, like V. parscauda, occupy monsoon habitats. Internasal scales are present in V. parscauda sp. nov., similar to V. annulata, but V. intermedia and V. multifasciata do not have nasal scales. V. parscauda sp. nov. has 55–94 black dorsal bands and mottled or black ventral scales terminating approximately 2/3rds of the body into formed black rings, suggesting that hyper-banding is a characteristic of the tropical monsoon snakes (V. intermedia, V. multifasciata and V. parscauda). The confined locality, potential habitat disruption due to mining activities, and scarcity of specimens indicates an urgent conservation concern for this species.

 

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