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Beaded Sea Snake
   
   

Family : ELAPIDAE (Hydrophiinae)
Species : Aipysurus eydouxii
Maximum Size : 1.0 metres

The Beaded or Spine-tailed Sea Snake is an example of a true sea snake. Such snakes are fully adapted to a marine environment and never emerge on land, although they are sometimes stranded in the inter-tidal zone by receding tides. The young are born alive at sea.

The Beaded Sea Snake is an inhabitant of shallow waters and coral reefs, where it feeds almost exclusively on fish eggs. It may also be encountered some distance up mangrove inlets.

Sea snakes are identified by the short, laterally flattened tail which acts as a paddle. The eyes are small, and the valved nostrils are located towards the top of the snout which allows the snake to breathe air easily while floating on the sea surface. Some are also able to absorb some of their oxygen requirements through their skin, in the manner of amphibians, and may thus remain submerged for some hours if inactive.

All sea snakes are venomous, some highly so. They should only be approached by those familiar with their habits. Even 'dead' specimens found at the beach should not be touched, because some species are in the habit of feigning death when stranded by the tide.

Sea snakes occur mainly in the warm tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean. The Beaded Sea Snake occurs throughout Southeast Asia and parts of Australia.


Fig 1 : Beaded Sea Snake beached in intertidal seagrass habitat, Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, Singapore.  Photo thanks to Ng Bee Choo.

Fig 2 : Intertidal habitat comprising sandy substrate and seagrass, with mangrove forest in the distance, at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, Singapore.


References : H2

 

Fig 1
  
ゥ Ng Bee Choo

Fig 2