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Thalassophina viperina

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA ELAPIDAE

Scientific Name: Thalassophina viperina
Species Authority: (Schmidt, 1852)
Common Name(s):
English Viperine Sea Snake
French Thalassophines
Synonym(s):
Praescutata viperina (Schmidt, 1852)
Thalassophis viperina Schmidt, 1852
Taxonomic Notes: There are three forms of this species (Smith 1926).

The question of priority (Thalassophina vs. Praescutata) arises because of uncertainty of just when the errata notice that accompanies Wall's original description of the genus was inserted into his publication, before or after distribution had begun (for details see Leviton et al. 2003 or David and Ineich 1999).

The Reptile Database treats this species under the genus Praescutata.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-15
Assessor(s): Rasmussen, A., Sanders, K. & Lobo, A.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S.R., Elfes, C.T., Polidoro, B.A. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)
Justification:
This species is widespread, although thought to be naturally rare. There are several specimens in museum collections. There are no known major threats as it lives in deeper waters, although it is captured occasionally in trawl fisheries bycatch. This species is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from the Arabian Gulf to Pakistan, around India to Indonesia and southern China (Heatwole 1999). There is record of a single specimen being caught off Phuket Island from the west coast of peninsular Thailand (Rasmussen 1985). The species appears to be very rare in that area. There are no records from the Philippines (J. Gatus pers. comm. 2009).
Countries:
Native:
Bahrain; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Japan; Kuwait; Malaysia; Myanmar; Oman; Pakistan; Philippines; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; Viet Nam
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Generally rare throughout its range.

This is quite a rare species caught in trawls in Goa, India (A. Lobo pers. comm. 2009). Also rare in trawls in the Andaman Sea and uncommon on the west coast of Thailand, but more common in Viet Nam (A. Rasmussen pers. comm. 2009).

Six specimens (out of 83) were collected from fishermen in Makassar, South Sulawesi in March and April 2010. Reportedly caught in nets (using lamps) near coral reefs around Pulau Baranglompo (K. Sanders and Mumpuni pers. comms. 2010).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The maximum size is approximately 97 cm TL (captured in a trawl in Goa, India; A. Lobo pers. comm. 2009). Feeds on spiny flatheads in India (A. Lobo pers. comm. 2009) and on eels and gobies (Voris and Voris 1983). Found in muddy soft bottom habitats.

An average of 3-4 large young and high reproductive effort (Lemen and Voris 1981).

It generally occurs in slighter deeper waters (15 - 30m) ( A. Lobo pers. comm.).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Sold for food and skins in Viet Nam  (A. Rasmussen pers. comm. 2009).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is caught as bycatch in trawl fishing operations (A. Lobo pers. comm. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place.

Citation: Rasmussen, A., Sanders, K. & Lobo, A. 2010. Thalassophina viperina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 September 2014.
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