Two Genetically Distinct yet Morphologically Indistinct Bungarus Species (Squamata, Elapidae) in Hong Kong

Félix Landry YUAN*, Tracey-leigh PRIGGE, Yik-Hei SUNG, Caroline DINGLE, Timothy C. BONEBRAKE

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-124
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Herpetology
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank KFBG, AFCD, Chung Tai Yeung, and John Allcock for providing specimens collected in Hong Kong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by The Herpetological Society of Japan

Keywords

  • Bungarus
  • Hong Kong
  • Krait
  • Taxonomy
  • Genetic
  • Morphology

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