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Marbled Sea Snake
   
   

Family : HYDROPHIIDAE
Species : Aipysurus eydouxii
Maximum Size : 1.0 metres

The Marbled or Spiny-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, though they are sometimes stranded in the inter-tidal zone by receding tides. The young are born alive at sea.

The Marbled 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 Marbled Sea Snake occurs throughout Southeast Asia and parts of Australia.


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


References : H2

 

Fig 1
 
ゥ Ng Bee Choo