Spine-tailed sea snake
Holotype: BMNH 19220.127.116.11 (formerly BMNH iii.10.1a and BMNH 1818.104.22.168).
Type-locality: Indian Ocean.
Marine waters of Thailand, Kampuchea, the Indo-Malayan Archipelago, and northern Australia (northwestern Western Australia eastward to the Great Barrier Reef). South China Sea, Gulf of Thailand.
Distribution: Australia (North Territory, Queensland, West Australia), South China Sea, Gulf of Thailand, Indonesia, W Malaysia, Vietnam, New Guinea.
Type locality: Indian Ocean
Habitat and Ecology
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.
Depth range (m): 10.7 - 50.4
Temperature range (°C): 24.782 - 24.782
Nitrate (umol/L): 1.001 - 1.001
Salinity (PPS): 35.354 - 35.354
Oxygen (ml/l): 4.657 - 4.657
Phosphate (umol/l): 0.135 - 0.135
Silicate (umol/l): 1.140 - 1.140
Depth range (m): 10.7 - 50.4
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
This species was seasonally abundant as trawler bycatch in western Malaysia in 1989 (Stuebing and Voris 1990). This is also the case in the Gulf of Carpentaria (D. Milton pers. comm. 2009). Also captured in the eastern prawn trawl fisheries in Australia (makes up 2 % of the sea snake catch) (Courtney et al. 2010). In Madura Straits (East Java, Indonesia), this species comprised 14 out of 256 bycaught snakes collected over ten days in June 2010 (K. Sanders and Mumpuni pers. comms.).
Sea snakes are protected in Australia since their addition to the ‘Listed Marine Species’ by the Department of Environment and Water Resources in 2000. They are protected in Australia under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999. This requires that all Australian industries interacting with protected species, directly or indirectly, demonstrate sustainability for the species impacted by their activities (Milton et al. 2008). The Australian Fisheries Management Act 1991 requires fishing efforts to avoid captures of threatened and protected species such as sea snakes.
A conservation recommendation is to reduce the number of individuals caught as bycatch in the prawn trawl fishery using appropriate exclusion devices within nets (Courtney et al. 2010).
Aipysurus eydouxii, commonly known as the beaded sea snake, marbled seasnake, or spine-tailed seasnake, is a species of sea snake. This snake is unusual amongst sea snakes in that it feeds exclusively on fish eggs. As part of this unusual diet, this species has lost its fangs, and the venom glands are almost entirely atrophied.
Adults of A. eydouxii may attain a snout to vent length (SVL) of 1 m (3.3 ft). The head shields are regular and symmetrical. The smooth dorsal scales are arranged in 17 rows at midbody. The ventrals, which are distinct throughout the length of the body, range from 141 to 149; the subcaudals, from 27 to 30.
A. eydouxii inhabits shallow bays and estuaries.
A. eydouxii eats the eggs of fish. Relative to other sea snakes, it has several derived characteristics related to its special diet. These include strong throat musculature, consolidation of lip scales, reduction and loss of teeth, greatly reduced body size, and (due to a dinucleotide deletion in the 3FTx gene) much reduced toxicity of the venom.
Only one other species of sea snake, Emydocephalus annulatus, shares A. eydouxii’s eggs-only diet.
- "Aipysurus eydouxii ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
- Das I. 2006. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Borneo. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 144 pp. ISBN 0-88359-061-1. (Aipysurus eydouxii, p. 65).
- Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Aipysurus eydouxii, p. 87).
- Boulenger GA. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Families Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ) ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Aipysurus eydouxii, p. 304).
- Goin CJ, Goin OB, Zug GR. 1978. Introduction to Herpetology: Third Edition. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company. xi + 378 pp. ISBN 0-7167-0020-4. (Genus Aipysurus, p. 332).
- Gray JE. 1849. Catalogue of the Specimens of Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum. (Edward Newman, printer). xv + 125 pp. (Tomogaster eydouxii, new species, p. 59).
- Kharin VE. 1981. A review of sea snakes of the genus Aipysurus (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae). Zoological Zhurnal 60 (2): 257-264.
- Li M, Fry BG, Kini RM. 2005. Putting the brakes on snake venom evolution: The Unique Molecular Evolutionary Patterns of Aipysurus eydouxii (Marbled Sea Snake) Phospholipase A2 Toxins. Molecular Biology and Evolution 22 (4): 934-941.
- Smith MA. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region. Reptilia and Amphibia, Vol. III.—Serpentes. London: Secretary of State for India. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 583 pp. ("Aepyurus eydouxi [sic]", pp. 445-446).