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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis: Sarcopterygii
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Elapoidea

Familia: Elapidae
Subfamilia: Hydrophiinae
Genus: Hoplocephalus
Species: Hoplocephalus bitorquatus

Hoplocephalus bitorquatus (Jan, 1859)

Holotype: SMF 20533.

Type locality: “Nouvelle Hollande [=Australia].”

Alecto bitorquata Jan, 1859: 128 [original combination]

Primary references

Jan, G. 1859. Plan d’une iconographie descriptive des ophidiens, et description sommaire de nouvelles espèces de serpents. Revue et magasin de zoologie pure et appliquée Série 2, 11: 122–130; 148–157. BHL (Part I); BHL (Part II) Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2022. Hoplocephalus bitorquatus. The Reptile Database. Accessed on 8 August 2017.

The pale-headed snake[4] (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus) is a species of venomous snake in the family Elapidae.[5] The species is endemic to Australia.


The species was originally described as Alecto bitorquata by Giorgio Jan in 1859.[6][7]

H. bitorquatus may attain a total length of 51 cm (20 in), which includes a tail 9.5 cm (3.7 in) long. The top of the head is pale olive, with a bright yellow occipital blotch, which is edged with black. The body is dark olive dorsally, and may have a darker vertebral streak. Ventrally, it is greyish olive or brown.[3]
Distribution and habitat

H. bitorquatus is found on the eastern coast of Australia, from Cape York Peninsula in Queensland to Gosford in New South Wales.[8] The preferred natural habitat of H. bitorquatus is forest.[1]

H. bitorquatus is arboreal.[1][2]

H. bitorquatus preys predominantly upon tree frogs, but also eats small lizards and small mammals.[1]

H. bitorquatus is viviparous.[2]

Vanderduys, E.; Venz, M.; Wilson, S.; Hobson, R.; Greenlees, M.; Dickman, C.; Sanderson, C. (2018). "Hoplocephalus bitorquatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T102710108A102710283. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T102710108A102710283.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
Species Hoplocephalus bitorquatus at The Reptile Database
Boulenger GA (1896). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III. Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ) ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I–XXV. (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus, pp. 349–350).
"Pale-headed Snake – profile". Office of Environment and Heritage (New South Wales). Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
"Species profile – Hoplocephalus bitorquatus (pale-headed snake)". Department of Environment and Science (Queensland). Government of Queensland. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
"Hoplocephalus bitorquatus (Jan, 1859)". Atlas of Living Australia. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
Giorgio Jan (1859). "Plan d'une iconographie descriptive des ophidiens et description sommaire de nouvelles espèces de serpents". Revue et magasin de zoologie pure et appliquée (in French). 11: 122 -130 [128]. ISSN 1259-6523. Wikidata Q108828733.

Beatson, Cecilie (19 November 2020). "Pale-headed Snake". Australian Museum. Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 26 December 2020.

Further reading

Cogger HG (2014). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition. Clayton, Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publishing. xxx + 1,033 pp. ISBN 978-0643100350.
Wilson S, Swan G (2013). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, Fourth Edition. Sydney: New Holland Publishers. 522 pp. ISBN 978-1921517280.


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