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Re: Asiatic Naja questions....


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Posted by WW on November 27, 2002 at 03:19:09:

In Reply to: Asiatic Naja questions.... posted by Jeremy G on November 26, 2002 at 12:57:53:

:First off, lets start with Naja naja. It would seem that a good majority of the reconized Asiatic Naja are spitters, correct?

All except N. naja and N. oxiana have at least occasionally been reported to spit.


: Im curious, has spitting been recored from any populations of Naja naja?

Not with any reliability. There were repoprts that Sri Lankan cobras spit, but this appears to be due to a misinterpretation of the literature on the part of some past authors in the first half of the 20th century.

: Do they posess the fang structure to do so like kaouthia?

No. Basically, Asiatic cobras have two types of fang: a totally non-spitting fang, with a very high discharge orifice, or a fang showing some adaptation. In the latter category, there is huge variation between highly adapted spitting fangs (e.g., N sputatrix) to relatively unadapted fangs, which are about half-way between a non-spitting fang and a highly adapted fang. Naja kaouthia is at the "unadapted" end of the spitting fangs, together with N. atra and N. philippinensis. What that shows is that you don't actually need all that much of a reduction in fang orifice size to be able to spit at least to some extent.

:Secondly, isnt it true that the commonly called Fromosa Island Naja kaouthia are not from the Island Fromosa(which I belive is called somthing else now?)and are simply an abbarent form? If I remember correctly, isnt the only Naja sp found there Naja atra? Also, didnt all of this confusion arise because of similar looking abbarent Naja atra which have been known from the Island?

:Also, if anyone knows, were did the abbarent kaouthia orginaly come from? I think Ive heard Thialand before but cant remember.

These so-called Formosans are something I am less than totally sure about - I haven't really seen many close-up for scale counts. The problem is that, unless you count scales, both Naja atra and Naja kaouthia can be extremely similar and hard to tell apart, and both display similar colour pattern variations. This really is something that has not been adequately resolved. The relationship between N. atra and N. kaouthia also needs more work, I have certainly seen snakes that look and have scalation characters like N. kaouthia, but atra-type mtDNA.

:Ok, last question. Regarding Naja sagittifera (this ones mostly for WW)does anyone have a picture of an adult specimen? The juvi pictured on Wolfgang's site simply blows my mind everytime I look at it and im curious if the adults retain any of that interesting pattern.

Adults appear to lose the body pattern. There is a pic in a book by Indraneil Das that has just come out, on the reptiles of India. I don't have the reference at hand, but check with !Bibliomania (www.herplit.com)

Cheers,

Wolfgang




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