Asian Naja confusion

Asian Naja confusion

Postby Nasicornis » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:09 pm

Just have a quick question on some classification of two asian cobra species.

Black and White Spitting cobras are terms that I have heard being used for two different species of Asian cobras.

1. Naja siamensis
2. Naja sputatrix

Isn't it more accurate to describe these as follows, or am I missing the point somewhere?

1. Indochinese Spitting Cobra (Naja siamensis)
2. Southern Indonesian Spitting Cobra (Naja sputatrix)

I think both of these have some degree of black and white coloring but it can get quite confusing whe someone just mentions "Black and White Spitters"
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Re: Asian Naja confusion

Postby WW » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:21 pm

Any really black and white spitting cobra is Naja siamensis. This species was often exported misleading exported as "Naja sputatrix" from Thailand in the 1980s, and the name has stuck in some quarters. Click here for more info.

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Postby Nasicornis » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:22 pm

Thanks a million. Just something that came up from the depths of deep though while being a bit bored.
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Re: Asian Naja confusion

Postby WW » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:25 pm

That should have read:

Any really black and white spitting cobra is Naja siamensis. This species was often exported exported under the misleading designation "Naja sputatrix" from Thailand in the 1980s, and the name has stuck in some quarters. Click here for more info.


I can write semi-coherently, just not while watching TV at the same time ;)

Cheers,

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Re: Asian Naja confusion

Postby Viridovipera » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:28 pm

But, in the non-pet trade, should you run into a black and white cobra in the forests of, say, Southern Vietnam, how can you tell if it's N. kaouthia or a spitter? I ran into this problem a few years ago and just threw on my sunglasses to be safe. Is there an easy way to tell spitters from non in that region?

-Alex
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Re: Asian Naja confusion

Postby WW » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:28 am

Viridovipera wrote:But, in the non-pet trade, should you run into a black and white cobra in the forests of, say, Southern Vietnam, how can you tell if it's N. kaouthia or a spitter? I ran into this problem a few years ago and just threw on my sunglasses to be safe. Is there an easy way to tell spitters from non in that region?


Fully black and white spitters are limited to parts of Thailand with one potential record for Laos. They are really quite unmistakable.

In Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as eastern and northern Thailand, N. siamensis is usually some shade of brown, and telling it from N. kaouthia at first sight it is less easy and takes either practice or detailed scale counts.

Superficial differences include size (most wild N. siamensis are less than 130 cm long, whereas N. kaouthia are often much larger), hood mark (usually a circle in N. kaouthia, usually a spectacle marking in N. siamensis, often absent altogether), skin (N. kaouthia is generally shiny, most N. siamensis are matt by comparison) and hood size (wider in N. siamensis).

Other differences include ventral scales (over 170 in N. kaouthia, usually less in N. siamensis), ventral banding (first ventral band usually very clearly defined, and positiond further forward, starting at 10th-14th ventral, in N. kaouthia, usually further back and often less well defined in N. siamensis).

For all of these characters you get exceptions. If in doubt, chuck on those sunnies ;)
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Re: Asian Naja confusion

Postby Viridovipera » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:16 pm

Thanks a lot Wolfgang. I think, just to be safe, next time I'll just run, grab some DNA real quickly, extract it, run it through a sequencer, compare the sequences to genbank and then go back and actually catch the snake :lol: :lol:

Your info was very helpful, but just does really show how difficult it is to teach villagers about snake safety. It's hard to explain the differences between ventral counts to villagers who just want to get rid of the dangerous snakes in their rice fields. The best advice is indeed, when in doubt, throw on the sunglasses and leave the snakes alone.

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