On the status and relationships of the Solomon Island elapid snakes



The snakes now called Denisonia par and D. woodfordi are considered conspecific, but generically distinct from Denisonia (for the Australian D. maculata and D. devisi); they are here termed Salomonelaps par and an account is presented of the considerable island-to-island variation in that species. the snake now caled Micropechis elapoides is transferred to a new genus Loveridgelaps, here believed to be closely related to Salomnelaps par, Ogmodon vitianus, and Vermicella annualata; an account (quite tentative and unsatisfactory because of the paucity of specimens) of the variation in Loveridgelaps elopoides is presented. Salomonelaps, Loveridgelaps, Ogmodon, and Vermicella make up a well defined (by the presence of an imperforate lateral process of the palatine) group of Australiasian elapids, the Vermicella group, and a key to the genera and generic descriptions for this group are presented. The New Guinea genus Micropechis (containing only M. ikaheka) is a member of a different group, here called the Pseudechis, containing also pseudechis, Austrelaps (for A. superbus), and Suta (for the genera Suta, Parasuta, and Unechis of Worrell, and the species Fasciata and Punctata, referred to Denisonia by Worrell, and Flagellum, referred to Cryptophis by Worrell). Some additional notes are given on the type of Denisonia boschmai Brongersma & Knaap-Van Meeurwen (here considered a geographic variation of Suta carpentariae), and a key to the genera of Pseudechis group is presented.