Mark O'Shea

Mark O'Shea
University of Wolverhampton · Faculty of Science and Engineering

MBE BSc DSc h.c.

About

133
Publications
149,667
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1,323
Citations
Citations since 2017
40 Research Items
703 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
Introduction
I am Professor of Herpetology at the University of Wolverhampton, and a field herpetologist with experience in >60 countries on six continents. My main geographical area is eastern Indonesia/Timor-Leste/Papua New Guinea but I have also worked in Asia, Africa, Arabia, and Latin America. I specialize in snakes, esp. venomous species, and have worked on snakebite projects in PNG, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. I am also a television presenter with a catalogue of 40 films (incl 4 seasons of ‘O’Shea’s Big Adventure’), author, photographer and Curator of Reptiles at West Midland Safari Park. I am currently working on several projects incl. the 2nd edition of Snakes of PNG. I am often invited to speak about my research at international symposia.

Publications

Publications (133)
Article
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We describe a new species of New Guinea vermivorous snake (Toxicocalamus) from a single specimen collected at Wangbin in the Star Mountains, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. The new species is the largest known member of the genus and can be differentiated from all other Toxicocalamus by a combination of the following characters: large size (tot...
Article
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We describe a new species of bent-toed gecko from a single specimen initially collected in 1924 by Malcolm Smith on Timor Island in the Lesser Sunda Archipelago of Indonesia. Cyrtodactylus celatus sp. nov. is distinguished from all other congeners by the following combination of characters: small adult size; without spinose tubercles on the ventrol...
Book
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A complete guide to the snakes of the island of New Guinea (with particular emphasis on the eastern half constituting the sovereign state of Papua New Guinea) and the islands to the east, e.g. Bismarck, Admiralty, d'Entrecasteaux, Louisiade and North Solomons Archipelagoes. Although out of print and also now out of date, this is still the definiti...
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We describe a new species of Cylindrophis currently known only from Grabag, Purworejo Regency, Jawa Tengah Province (Central Java), Java, Indonesia. Cylindrophis subocularis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners by the presence of a single, eponymous subocular scale between the 3rd and 4th or 4th and 5th supralabial, preventing contact b...
Article
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Context. Skinks comprise the dominant component of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna in Oceania, New Guinea, and Eastern Wallacea (ONGEW). However, knowledge of their diversity is incomplete, and their conservation needs are poorly understood. Aims. To explore the diversity and threat status of the skinks of ONGEW and identify knowledge gaps and con...
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With its conservative set of scalation characters, Toxicocalamus loriae is a morphologically confusing species to which a wide array of phenotypes has been assigned. Careful analysis of 224 museum specimens reveals that multiple distinct species remain hidden under the name T. loriae and that diagnostic, species-level differences are more nuanced i...
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German: Motivphilatelie ist das Sammeln von Briefmarken zu einem bestimmten Thema, in diesem Fall Brief-marken mit Amphibien und Reptilen, von denen es buchstablich Tausende gibt. Dieser Artikel befasst sich mit ikonischen Briefmarkensatzen, die viele von uns in ihrer Jugend besessen haben oder an die sie sich zumindest erinnern, thematisiert aber...
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We report on the presence of the ixodid tick Amblyomma helvolum on three species of reptiles from Timor-Leste. Among a total of 21 host specimens (lizards: 18 four-fingered skinks, Carlia sp. ‘Meleotegi’ and two forest skinks, Sphenomorphus sp. ‘Meleotegi’; snake: one Coelognathus subradiatus) four were parasitized by ticks. Whereas nymphs were ass...
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We report on the discovery of a third, male specimen of Stegonotus lividus in the collection of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France, and demonstrate that it is not only a member of the original type series but the only one of the three syntypes, whose morphology was detailed in the original description. We herein identify it a...
Article
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During the first amphibian and reptile survey of Timor-Leste, we discovered a population of groundsnakes, genus Stegonotus, in the last remnant of lowland coastal forest along the country's southern coast, which represents a new species. This sexually dimorphic species can be differentiated from all other Wallacean Stegonotus by a combination of 17...
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Self-published taxon descriptions, bereft of a basis of evidence, are a long-standing problem in taxonomy. The problem derives in part from the Principle of Priority in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, which forces the use of the oldest available nomen irrespective of scientific merit. This provides a route to 'immortality' for un...
Article
Full-text available
Self-published taxon descriptions, bereft of a basis of evidence, are a long-standing problem in taxonomy. The problem derives in part from the Principle of Priority in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, which forces the use of the oldest available nomen irrespective of scientific merit. This provides a route to ‘immortality’ for un...
Book
Full-text available
Lizards of the World is ultimate book on these fascinating creatures, featuring the all the different types of lizard worldwide. As survivors from the time of the dinosaurs, lizards are scaly, cold-blooded, living fossils – relics from a prehistoric world that remain alive and well in ours. Lizards exert a morbid fascination, in many mythologies t...
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We describe a new species of groundsnake of the genus Stegonotus (Colubridae) from the Purari River basin in Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. The new species can be most readily distinguished from all other New Guinean Stegonotus by its unique dorsal colour pattern which consists of a dark head and creamy-white anterior one third to two thirds of t...
Article
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During a taxonomic revision of species in the genus Stegonotus Duméril et al., 1854, we reexamined over 90% of all known museum specimens from this taxon. Of the five specimens available to us from the island of Borneo, three are clearly distinct from the other two. The latter are from the lowland rainforest in Sarawak, Malaysia, which includes the...
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Examination of historical specimens from western New Guinea in the Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich, Germany, led to the discovery of only the second specimen of the rarely encountered Star Mountains Worm-eating Snake, Toxicocalamus ernstmayri. This specimen is the first record of the species from the Indonesian part of New Guinea, extending its k...
Article
Examination of 18 cobras brought to three hospitals in the Mandalay Region by patients bitten or spat at by them distinguished 3 monocled cobras (Naja kaouthia) and 15 Mandalay spitting cobras (N. mandalayensis), based on their morphological characteristics. We confirm and extend the known distributions and habitats of both N. mandalayensis and N....
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A case of midget-faded rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus concolor) envenomation of an adult male professional herpetologist occurred in a rural setting and resulted in an array of venom induced myoneurologic symptoms. The patient experienced blurry vision, total body paresthesia, dyspnea, chest tightness, and waves of spastic muscle movements of the h...
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Kaiser et al. (2018) recently presented a comprehensive history of snakes in the genus Stegonotus Duméril et al., 1854 that included substantial taxonomic revisions. Given the scope and production of this work a few issues remained uncorrected during several proof stages, which we correct herein. Furthermore, after the paper was published some rele...
Article
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We describe a new species of Indo-Papuan groundsnake (Stegonotus) from a single adult male specimen collected in 1953 near Kamro, a village in Maybrat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia. The specimen had been considered a member of S. batjanensis, a well-defined species from the northern Maluku Islands over 500 km to the northwest with which it shares...
Article
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We trace the taxonomic history of Toxicocalamus, a poorly known genus of primarily vermivorous snakes found only in New Guinea and associated island archipelagos. With only a relatively limited number of specimens to examine, and the distribution of those specimens across many natural history collections, it has been a difficult task to assemble a...
Article
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Since its conceptualization in 1854, 29 species of the colubrid genus Stegonotus have been recognized or described, of which 15 (admiraltiensis, batjanensis, borneensis, cucullatus, derooijae, diehli, florensis, guentheri, iridis, heterurus, melanolabiatus, modestus, muelleri, parvus, poechi) are still considered valid today. Original species descr...
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How simply relying on th data accompanying museum specimens from the 19th and early 20th centuries can lead to misunderstanding of the taxon's actual distribution. We illustrate this with several known examples in herptology and ornithology, and then emply "forensic historial herpetology" to investigate the provence of three specimens of the endemi...
Article
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A series of photographs of the recently described Star Mountains Worm-eating Snake, Toxicocalamus ernstmayri O'Shea et al., 2015, taken at the Ok Tedi Mine in the Star Mountains, North Fly District, Western Province, Papua New Guinea, represents only the second record of this poorly-known species. Toxicocalamus ernstmayri was hitherto only known fr...
Article
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We report the first records of the Island Wolfsnake, Lycodon capucinus (H. Boie in F. Boie 1827) at Timika, Mimika Regency, Papua Province, Indonesian New Guinea. These are of considerable interest since they provide further proof for the ability of this species to disperse via human transport, and the expansion into New Guinea represents a signifi...
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Article
The Asian toad, Duttaphrynus melanostictus (Schneider, 1799), is widespread throughout tropical Asia and very abundant where it occurs. It was relatively recently introduced to Timor, the second largest island in the biogeographic region called Wallacea. Timor Island shows an exceptionally high level of endemismin a wide range of faunal groups and...
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ABSTRACT The medically important Australian elapid Pseudonaja textilis was first documented for the island of New Guinea in the 1950s, when specimens from the northern coast of the Papuan Peninsula were collected and identified. It was initially believed that these snakes were from an invasive population that established post-World War II, a concep...
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The recent resurrection of Calamophis Meyer, 1874, type species C. jobiensis, from the synonymy of Brachyorrhos Kuhl in Schlegel, 1826, and the description of three new species of Calamophis, have changed concepts of homalopsid diversity in the Vogelkop Peninsula of West New Guinea. Both Brachyorrhos and Calamophis are now accepted to comprise four...
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We report two instances of captive breeding in a species of Timorese night skink (genus Eremiascincus Greer, 1979) in October and December 2012. Four and three neonates, respectively, with total lengths of ca 40 mm each, were discovered during routine maintenance of a terrarium, in which three adult animals (1 male, 2 females) were kept. The absenc...
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Based on four specimens discovered in the collection of The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom, we present a new distribution record for the skink Sphenomorphus oligolepis for Seram Island, Maluku Province, Indonesia. This find constitutes the westernmost record for the species and extends its range by over 800 km. The species was heret...
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p>We describe the courtship behavior of the Paradise Flying Snake, Chrysopelea paradisi , from a series of images taken near Sandakan, eastern Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia. During the episode observed, four males moved together with a female in various states of entanglement, traveling at ground level and into a series of bushes. The observations took p...
Chapter
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We report the results of five herpetological surveys during 2011–2013 that included visits to all districts of Timor-Leste (Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro, Dili, Covalima, Ermera, Lautém, Liquiça, Manatuto, Manufahi, Viqueque) except the Oecusse exclave. Our fieldwork culminated in the discovery of one putative new frog species (genus Kaloula), a...
Article
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Rhodin, A.G.J., H. Kaiser, P.P. van Dijk, W. Wüster, M. O’Shea, M. Archer, M. Auliya, L. Boitani, R. Bour, V. Clausnitzer, T. Contreras-MacBeath, B.I. Crother, J.M. Daza, C.A. Driscoll, O. Flores-Villela, J. Frazier, U. Fritz, A. Gardner, C. Gascon, A. Georges, F. Glaw, F.G. Grazziotin, C.P. Groves, G. Haszprunar, P. Havaš, J.M. Hero, M. Hoffmann,...
Conference Paper
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There have been increasing occurrences of what has become known as “taxonomic terrorism,” an unfortunate effect of the Principle of Priority [in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature]. In science, we generally can and do ignore work that is poorly constructed and poorly published. In taxonomy, this is difficult particularly when other p...
Article
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Recent herpetofaunal investigations in Timor-Leste revealed populations similar to Hemidactylus brookii Gray, 1845 in four of 13 districts. In order to properly identify these populations, we examined their relationships to other H. brookiicomplex populations, notably those from nearby Roti Island, Indonesia (to which the name H. tenkatei van Lidth...
Chapter
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Contents: I. Introduction II. Amphibians of Timor-Leste A. Duttaphrynus melanostictus (Bufonidae) B. Genus Fejervarya (Dicroglossidae) C. Limnonectes timorensis (Dicroglossidae) D. Litoria everetti (Hylidae) E. Litoria infrafrenata (Hylidae) F. Genus Polypedates (Rhacophoridae) III. Conservational Challenges A. Colonialism and Environmental Degra...
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An account of the formative years 1965-1977 when the author's interest in reptiles developed
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Abstract. We report an unusual predator-prey interaction between the Common Asian toad, Duttaphrynus melanostictus, and the Brahminy blindsnake, Ramphotyphlops braminus, as observed in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste. The live blindsnake was found emerging headfirst from the cloaca of the toad, with about one-third of its body length still inside. T...
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We describe for the first time the terrestrial herpetofauna of Ataúro Island, Timor-Leste, a small mountainous island in the Inner Banda Arc of the Lesser Sunda Archipelago. The island supports a fauna of ten lizard species in three families (Gekkonidae, n = 5; Scincidae, n = 4; Varanidae, n = 1) and four snake species in three families (Colubridae...
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As part of an on-going survey of herpetofaunal diversity in Timor-Leste, we documented our observations regarding encounters between local human inhabitants and their reptilian neighbours. Our interest in environmental and conservation education led to the detailed contemplation of five case studies involving reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus...