IUCN threat status:

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Taxonomy

There are three distinct species complexes of sea kraits based on head colouration, presence or absence of the azygous prefrontal shield, division of the rostral shield and the number of rows of scales around the body (Cogger et al. 1987). The Laticauda colubrina species complex contains L. colubrina and L. frontalis from Vanuatu (Cogger et al. 1987). The affinities of the sea kraits to other marine and terrestrial species are unclear. The sea kraits are accorded full family status (Cogger 2000)Laticaudidae because of morphology (Burger & Natsuno 1974) and amino acid sequences of the neurotoxins (Tamiya 1985). They have also been grouped in a subfamily of either the Hydrophiidae (Smith 1926) or in the Elapidae (McDowell 1972). Other researchers place the sea kraits within a tribe of the terrestrial snakes, Elapidae (Smith et al. 1977) or as a sister trible to the true sea snakes within the subfamily of terrestrial and marine front fanged snaks, Hydrophiidae (Keogh 1998)

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