The good, the bad and the ugly: Australian snake taxonomists and a history of the taxonomy of Australia's venomous snakes

Williams, David , Wuster, Wolfgang, and Fry, Bryan Grieg (2006) The good, the bad and the ugly: Australian snake taxonomists and a history of the taxonomy of Australia's venomous snakes. Toxicon, 48 (7). pp. 919-930.

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Abstract

The Australian snake fauna is unique in harbouring more venomous species than non-venomous ones. Although taxonomic research on the elapid snakes of Australia goes back to the late 18th century, in stark contrast to other developed regions of the world (e.g. the continental USA), Australian snake taxonomy is very much in its infancy. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, the taxonomy of Australian snakes has been extraordinarily controversial, and many of the taxonomists involved correspondingly colourful. In this review, we explore the sometimes-tortured history of the taxonomic exploration of the venomous snake fauna of Australia, looking at some of the more colourful and notable contributors and highlighting systematic pitfalls that persist even today.

Item ID: 4112
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0041-0101
Keywords: taxonomy; snakes; Australia; venom
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2009 03:10
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960699 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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