Tuesday, February 28, 2012

[Herpetology • 2011] Myron karnsi & M. resetari • Two new dwarf homalopsid snakes (Homalopsidae) from eastern Indonesia and western Australia

Two new dwarf homalopsid snakes of the genus Myron described in 2011. A. Myron karnsi from the Aru Islands in eastern Indonesia. B. Myron resetari from Western Australia. Both species have been long confused with Myron richardsonii, a species from northern Australia.These are small (less than 400 mm), coastal species that probably hunt fish in marine environments. They are two of a small number of snakes, other than true sea snakes and file snakes, that have been able to adapt to saltwater. M. karnsi is known from a single specimen, M. resetari was known from two specimens when described, but other specimens have been found in the last few months. JCM

 The external morphology and systematics of Australasian homalopsid snakes are examined against the background of recent molecular work. Two new species (Myron karnsi and Myron resetari) in the genus Myron Gray 1849 are described using the external morphology commonly applied to snake species. Cantoria annulata Jong 1926 and Hypsirhina polylepis Fisher 1886 represent endemic Australasian genera; Cantoria annulata is assigned a new genus, and the genus Pseudoferania Ogilby 1891 is resurrected for Enhydris polylepis. The zoogeography of the Australasian homalopsid clade is discussed.
Key words:– homalopsids, Myron, Cantoria, Enhydris,  Heurnia, nomenclature, new genus, new species.

Myron karnsi, new species
Holotype: SMF 19569. 
Type Locality: Indonesia Aru, Kobroor, Selrutti (about 5º46'S and 134º31'E).
1917 Myron richardsoni — Rooij, 2:192

Etymology. – This species is named in honour of Daryl R. Karns, Hanover College and the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, Field Museum of Natural History for his contributions to herpetological research and work with homalopsid snakes.
Distribution. – Known only from the type locality.

Myron resetari, new species
Holotype: QM J52861. 
Type locality: Broome, Western Australia (about 17º58'S and 122º14'E).
1970 Myron richardsonii — Gyi, pages 172–174, Fig. 28.

Etymology. – The specifi c name is in honour of Alan Resetar of the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, Field Museum of Natural History for his life long dedication to herpetology and his behind the scenes contributions to homalopsid snake research.
Distribution. – Known only from the type locality, Broome, Western Australia; but it may be more widespread. Given Myron’s use of mangroves and mudfl ats it seems likely this snake is from the Roebuck Bay area of the Dampier Peninsula.

Murphy, John C. 2011. The nomenclature and systematics of some Australasian Homalopsid snakes (Squamata: Serpentes: Homalopsidae). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 59(2):229-236.