Kraits (genus Bungarus) are a group of highly venomous elapid snakes found across tropical Asia. Although they are notorious for causing many, often deadly, envenomations throughout the continent, their taxonomy and species nomenclature is subject to regular revisions. The boundaries demarcating B. candidus, B. multicinctus, and B. wanghaotingi, in Southern China and Northern Myanmar are particularly obscure. Despite the extensively overlapping distributions for the three species, only B. multicinctus has been documented in Hong Kong. Following genetic analyses, we suggest that both B. multincinctus and B. wanghaotingi occur in Hong Kong. However, our morphological examinations are overall inconclusive in distinguishing the two species. With potential interspecific antivenin differences, the new identification of B. wanghaotingi in Hong Kong is of important medical interest. We recommend further ecological, taxonomic, and behavioural studies be conducted to properly distinguish B. multincinctus and B. wanghaotingi in the region.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank KFBG, AFCD, Chung Tai Yeung, and John Allcock for providing specimens collected in Hong Kong.
© 2022 by The Herpetological Society of Japan
- Hong Kong