A New Generic Name for a Nominal Species of
By Eric Worrell.
In an effort to relieve, if only slightly, the complete unwieldiness of the
genus Denisonia, 1 I propose to create a new genus to accommodate the
species daemelii. 2 This species in no way conforms with the unjustifiably
broad limits of the genus either externally or osteologically, nor does it
comply with the requirements of any other established genus.
On external characters daemelii is the only venomous Australian snake
with the normal combination of a divided anal and single subcaudals. The
type species of Denisonia, which is maculata, 3 has an elliptical pupil and no
canthus rostralis. The pupil is round and canthus rostralis present in
On osteological characters daemelii differs in that its skull structure is
lighter than other present nominal forms of the genus Denisonia. The most
obvious feature is the shape of the maxillary bone and maxillary teeth.
The maxillary is prolonged and the fangs are followed by seven to ten
long recurved, sickle-like teeth, whereas in other nominal species of
Denisonia the maxillary bone is not prolonged and the teeth following the
fangs number from three to five.
It is therefore proposed that these characters be used to create a new
generic name Drepanodontis which refers to the sickle-like structure of the
maxillary teeth when viewed laterally.
Drepanodontis, gen. nov.
Maxillary bone prolonged, seven to eight long, recurved, sickle-like
teeth follow fang; body cylindrical, tail moderate; canthus rostralis present;
pupil round; anal paired, subcaudals single.
Type species, Hoplocepalus daemelii Gunther.
Drepanodontis daemelii (Gunther).
Distribution: Type locality. Peak Downs, Queensland. Occurs from eastern
Queensland, about the Tropic of Capricorn to western N.S.W. as far south
as Wentworth on the Murray River.
Description: Snout broad, obtuse, neck slightly distinct from body. Rostral
broader than deep; single nasal contacts preocular; frontal longer and
broader than supraoculars; six supralabials, third and fourth subocular;
seven infralabials. Midbody scales in 17 smooth rows; ventrals 146 to
170; anal divided; subcaudals 40 to 45 single. Tength attained is 620 mm,
about two feet. It is ovoviviparous.
Colour: Greyish above, whitish ventrally, the young are born with black
heads which lighten in colour until maturity when the head is uniformly
1. Denisonia Krefft 1869, Aust. Snakes, p. 82.
2. Hoplocephalus daemelii Gunther, Journ. Mus. Godeffroy, xii, 1876, n. 46; F. Mull.
Verh. Nat Ges. Basel, vi, 1878. p. 695.
3. Hopocephalus macula tus Steindachner, 1867, Reise Oesterr. Free. Novara, Reptiles,
p. 81: N.S.W.