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Oxyuranus temporalis

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Oxyuranus temporalis or Central Ranges Taipan is a species of taipan, large, fast, highly venomous Australasian snakes, that was described in 2007 by Australian researchers Paul Doughty, Brad Maryan, Stephen Donnellan and Mark Hutchinson. It was named one of the top five new species of 2007 by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University.

DiscoveryEdit

Dr Mark Hutchinson, reptile and amphibian curator at the South Australian Museum, caught the immature female taipan while it was crossing a dirt track on a sunny afternoon.[1]

The reptile was about one metre long but, because taipan species are among the most venomous snakes in the world, Hutchinson did not inspect the creature on site. He bagged the snake and sent it, along with others captured from the trip, to the Western Australian Museum in Perth for closer inspection.[1]

It is the first new taipan species to be discovered in 125 years.[2] It was not until two weeks later that the new species was studied.

At first, it was tentatively identified as a western brown snake because of the similar size and colouring. However, several weeks later, WA Museum reptile collection manager Brad Maryan noticed the now preserved snake had a large, pale head similar to the coastal taipan.[3]

The holotype, nicknamed "Scully" after the X-Files TV character, is an immature snake about a metre long, which means that scientists do not know the true adult size of the species, though some taipans can reach lengths of about three meters.[3]

New SpeciesEdit

Oxyuranus temporalis differs from its two congeneric species Oxyuranus scutellatus and Oxyuranus microlepidotus in lacking a temporolabial scale and having six rather than seven infralabial scales. Phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA sequences showed it to be the sister species of the two previously known taipans.[4]

The two described species of Oxyuranus are among the most venomous snakes in the world - Oxyuranus microlepidotus ranked the most and Oxyuranus scutellatus, the third most venomous after Pseudonaja textilis.[3]

The Central Ranges Taipan or Oxyuranus temporalis is likely to be extremely venomous given its close relationship to the other two species.[3] The new species is known from the single specimen, so very little is known of its natural history, and nothing of its venom.[4]

The new species was described in 2007 by Australian researchers Paul Doughty, Brad Maryan, Stephen Donnellan and Mark Hutchinson.[5] It was named one of the top five new species of 2007 by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University.[6]

2010 RediscoveryEdit

In May 2010 a second specimen of Oxyuranus temporalis was found in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia. The adult female taipan measuring 1.3 metres, was captured by the Spinifex people from the Tjuntjuntjara Aboriginal community during a biological study at Ilkurlka, 165 kilometres west of the South Australian border. The second snake was found 425 kilometers south of the location of the initial discovery.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Carday,Todd (2007-03-09). New species of taipan found. Science and Nature. The Australian. Retrieved on 2008-06-19.
  2. Williams,Brian (2007-03-10). Taipan species discovered. Courier Mail. Queensland Newspapers. Retrieved on 2008-06-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Amalfi, Carmelo (2007-03-12). REPTILE experts from the WA Museum have discovered a female taipan new to science living in the remote central ranges of outback WA.. New species of taipan found in central WA. Science Network Western Australia. Retrieved on 2008-06-19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Oxyuranus temporalis - Central Ranges taipan. Elapidae - 2007 Publications. Wolfgang Wüster, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor (2007). Retrieved on 2008-06-19.
  5. Doughty et al. (2007). A new species of taipan (Elapidae: Oxyuranus) from central Australia. www.mapress.com/zootaxa. Retrieved on 2008-06-19.
  6. Top 10 New Species Named. Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved on 2008-06-19.
  7. Rare, and deadly, snake found in WA desert. WA News. WA Today (2010-07-16). Retrieved on 2010-07-16.

External linksEdit

es:Oxyuranus temporalis

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