Overview

Brief Summary

Common Names

Colubrine sea krait

Yellow-lipped sea krait

Nattern-Plattschwanz

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Mohammadi, Shabnam

Source: Snake Species of the World

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 1.0 of 5

Notes

Holotype: ZMB 9078

Type-locality: None given, unknown.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Mohammadi, Shabnam

Source: Snake Species of the World

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 1.0 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

L. colubrina is one of the most widespread members of the genus Laticauda (Heatwole et al. 2005). It is found along the coasts of eastern India and Andaman Islands, east through Malaysia, Indonesia, and northward to Viet Nam and southern China, Taiwan, and the Ryuku Islands of Japan. Also found in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines, Palau to the islands of the southwestern Pacific Ocean stretching to Fiji, Vanuatu and Niue. This species has been known to stray to Australia and New Zealand, though there is no evidence of breeding populations in these locations (Heatwole 1999).

This species is common on several of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but it has rarely been spotted off islands near the Indian mainland (e.g. Grande Island in Goa) (A. Lobo pers. comm. 2009).

There have been unconfirmed sightings of this species near the western coast of Central America.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Laticauda colubrina, also known as banded sea kraits, originated in the region of northern Papua New Guinea. This species of sea krait is the most widely distributed of the Laticauda complex which includes the related species, Laticauda colubrina and Laticauda saintgirosi. The breeding range of banded sea kraits is limited to the Australian and Oriental Oceanic geographic ranges. Because they inhabit coral reefs and live mostly off the coast of small islands, they have a patchy geographic distribution, a characteristic off most sea snake species. Generally, they are widespread through Indo-Australian Archipelago, the Bay of Bengal, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. More specifically, the breeding range extends westward to the the Andaman and Nicobor Islands and northward to Taiwan and the Miyako and Yaeyaema island groups in the southwestern part of the Ryukyu Archipelago in southern Japan. They are present off the coast of Thailand but only on its western coast. Their eastern limit is Palua and they are present on the island groups from the Solomon Islands to Tonga in the southwestern Pacific. Their distribution is heavily reliant on several key factors including the presence of coral reefs, sea currents, suitable terrestrial shelter, and paleography. They are not found in the Atlantic and Caribbean oceanic regions.

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native ); australian (Native )

  • Cox, M., P. Paul van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata, K. Thirakhupt. 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. London: New Holland Publishers.
  • Heatwole, H., S. Busack, H. Cogger. 2005. Geographic Variation in Sea Kraits of the Laticauda colubrina Complex (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae: Laticaudini). Herpetological Monographs, 19: 1-136.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Marine waters of eastern India (Bay of Bengal) through Indo-Malaysia to New Guinea, Australia (tropical northeastern coast), New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands; Solomon Islands: southern Japan. Philippine Islands, Melanesia, Polynesia.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Mohammadi, Shabnam

Source: Snake Species of the World

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Continent: Oceania Middle-America Asia Australia
Distribution: Indian Ocean (E India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (= Burma), Malaysia, Indonesia [Borneo], Melanesia, Polynesia), Solomon Islands [McCoy 2000], Gulf of Thailand, Philippines (Luzon etc.), Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands, Coasts of Taiwan (China) Bay of Bengal coasts of Malay Peninsula Indoaustralian Archipelago to New Guinea Japan (Ryukyu Islands) Australia (New South Wales, Queensland), New Zealand Western Pacific Ocean to Fiji, New Caledonia, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua  
Type locality: not given
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Peter Uetz

Source: The Reptile Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Banded sea kraits are also called yellow-lipped sea kraits because of a characteristic yellow upper lip. Their heads are mostly black with a yellow band extending along the lip, underneath each eye. They also have a yellow snout and a yellow band above the eye. Similarly, their tails have a U-shaped yellow marking along the edge that borders a broad black band. They have a smooth, scaled body with a blue or gray base color. Twenty to sixty-five black bands form rings around the body. Their ventral surface is typically yellow or a cream color. There is apparent sexual dimorphism in the species most likely due to differences between male and female feeding patterns. Females feed on a larger species of eel that lives in deeper water while the males feed on smaller eels that inhabit shallow water. Therefore, females, weighing about 1800 g and measuring 150 cm in length on average, are typically larger than males which are only 600 grams on average and 75 to 100 cm in length. One giant sea krait has been reported at 3.6 m.

Also, their amphibious nature contributes to their morphological characteristics. For example, they lay eggs and digest food on land and have terrestrial adaptations similar to other terrestrial snakes such as a cylindrical body shape and ventral scales for crawling and climbing on land. However, they hunt and catch prey in the ocean and have certain aquatic adaptations for life in the water including valvular nostrils, salt glands, and a laterally compressed, paddle-like tail similar to true sea snakes. Because of the geographic distribution of the sea kraits, groups from different islands may vary in some physical characteristics such as head shape and size.

Average mass: 600 to 1800 g.

Range length: 75 to 360 cm.

Average length: 125 cm.

Other Physical Features: heterothermic ; venomous

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; female larger

  • Heatwole, H. 1999. Sea Snakes. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company.
  • Rasmussen, A., J. Elmberg. 2009. 'Head for my tail': a new hypothesis to explain how venomous sea snakes avoid becoming prey. MARINE ECOLOGY-AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE, 30.4: 385-390.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Banded sea kraits are found most frequently in warm, tropical climates in oceanic, coastal waters. Many are found off the shore of small islands and they often hide in small crevices or under rocks. Their primary habitat is shallow coral reef waters where their primary food source (eel) resides. They have many special adaptations for diving including a saccular lung allowing them to dive to depths up to 60 m in search of food. They spend a much of their lives in the ocean but also spend anywhere between twenty-five and fifty percent of their life on rocky islets in order to court, mate, lay eggs, digest food, and shed their skins. They can also be found in mangrove areas. They have the ability to climb trees and have even been recorded at the highest points of the islands in which they reside (36 to 40 m high). They are not characterized as a pelagic species.

Range elevation: 36 to 40 (high) m.

Range depth: 60 (low) m.

Average depth: <20 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: reef ; coastal

Other Habitat Features: intertidal or littoral

  • Shine, R., R. Reed, S. Shetty, H. Cogger. 2002. Relationships Between Sexual Dimorphism and Niche Partitioning within a Clade of Sea-Snakes (Laticaudinae). Oecologia, 133: 45-53.
  • Tweedie, M. 1953. Snakes of Malaya. Singapore: R.D. Gillespie.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
L. colubrina is found in a wide range of habitats, including coral islands, coral reefs, mangroves, and in the open ocean. It feeds on eels (Heatwole 1999), and is usually found in shallow waters from 0-10 m depth (Cogger 2007).

The animals feed on eels in shallow coastal waters and return to land to rest, slough their skin and digest their prey (Shetty and Shine 2002b). On land they shelter in vegetation, under beach rocks, in crevices and caves. This species is more terrestrial in its habits than its congener, L. laticaudata, and this is reflected in its heavier bodied morphology and superior terrestrial locomotor abilities (Shine et al. 2003).

Oviparous females deposit their eggs on land (Guinea 1994) though interestingly, these eggs are very rarely encountered in the wild, with possibly only two nests reported over the entire distribution of the species. Their reproductive habits can therefore be considered highly secretive.

Females are larger and heavier-bodied than males (up to three times as heavy in Fiji; Pernetta 1977) and this sexual dimorphism is reflected in different diets, with females feeding on larger conger eels, while males feed predominantly on smaller moray eels (Shetty and Shine 2002c).

Populations of L. colubrina in Fiji have displayed strong site fidelity, with animals on islands separated by less than six kilometres remaining essentially separate (Shetty and Shine 2002a). Similar site fidelity has been recorded in New Caledonia, though this has not resulted in genetic differentiation between island sites separated by distances of up to 100 km (Lane 2009).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Banded sea kraits are considered feeding specialists. Regardless of geographic location, they have a diet consisting almost entirely of eels of the order Anguilliform and families Congridae, Muraenidae, and Ophichthidae. Females and males typically differ in their food habits leading to the sexual dimorphism in the species. Females are typically larger and eat larger conger eels. Males usually feed on the smaller moray eels.

Sea kraits use their elongate bodies and small heads to probe cracks, crevices, and small openings in the coral matrix in order to forage for eels. They have venomous fangs and their venom contains powerful neurotoxins that affect the muscles of the diaphragm of its prey. Upon injection, these neurotoxins act rapidly, drastically impairing the swimming and breathing capabilities of an eel and making it easy to subdue. After a meal, the swimming ability of the banded sea krait is impaired and it must immediately return to land to digest its prey or else be vulnerable to predators in the water.

Although often described as strictly eel-eaters, examples of other types of bony fish of the families Synodontidae and Pomacentridae have been recorded from the stomachs of some Laticauda colubrina.

Animal Foods: fish

Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore )

  • Glodek, G., H. Voris. 1982. Marine Snake Diets: Prey Composition, Diversity and Overlap. Copeia, 1982/3: 661-666.
  • Ineich, I., X. Bonnet, F. Briscoux, M. Kulbicki, B. Seret, R. Shine. 2007. Anguilliform fishes and sea kraits: neglected predators in coral-reef ecosystems. MARINE BIOLOGY, 51. 2: 793-802.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Banded sea kraits are known hosts to endoparasitic chigger mites of the family Trombiculidae. Studies have found that larger, older snakes in Singapore contain larger numbers of mites with the maximum number of mites found in one snake being 60. These mites were found strictly within the trachea. However, the chiggers have also been found in the lung sacs in Laticauda colubrina of Taiwan. There are also known to be subject to nematodes, trematodes, and cestodes.

Also, as banded sea kraits strictly prey on eels, they certainly play a role in controlling eel population in the coral reef ecosystems they inhabit. While they feed on eels, they may also be vital to the survival of one species of eel, banded snake eels (Myrichthys colubrinus). This eel species in the Indo-Pacific looks very similar to the banded sea krait and appears to mimic its behavior. Therefore, the eel may use this as a defense strategy, appearing as a dangerous and venomous animal to predators.

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • Ticks (Amblyomma nitidum)
  • Chigger mites (Vatacarus ipoides)
  • Nematodes
  • Trematodes
  • Cestodes

  • McCoy, M. 1980. Reptiles of the Solomon Islands. Hong Kong: Sheck Wah Tong Printing Press Limited.
  • Nadchatram, M. 2006. A review of endoparasitic acarines of Malaysia with special reference to novel endoparasitism of mites in amphibious sea snakes and supplementary notes on ecology of chiggers. TROPICAL BIOMEDICINE, 23.1: 1-22.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Although not much has been reported regarding specific predators of Laticauda colubrina, known predators for many sea kraits include sea eagles (Haliastur indus and Haliaetus leucogaster) and sharks, especially tiger sharks (Galeocerda cuvieri). Also, more unusual predators have been observed, including the attack and feeding of a portunid crab on one Laticauda colubrina. Anti-predator adaptations have been documented in g. Laticauda. For one, sea kraits seek cover in crevices or amidst plants on land to digest their food after foraging. This is because their swimming ability is drastically impaired after a meal, leaving them vulnerable to sharks. Also, the banded sea krait, like many other species of sea krait, are highly venomous. It uses this characteristic in a remarkably innovative anti-predator adaptation in which the tail of the krait is rotated so that it resembles a second head. As noted above, the physical description of the head and tail of the banded sea krait is very similar. In this way the sea krait can trick a predator into thinking it has two dangerous, venomous heads and therefore serve as a preventive, mimetic adaptation. This is especially important because they spend much time probing crevices for food, leaving them exposed to attack from behind. Using this type of mimetic defense the banded sea krait can hunt without being overly vulnerable to predators.

Known Predators:

  • Crabs Portunus
  • Sea Eagles (Haliastur indus)
  • Sea Eagles (Haliaetus luecogaster)
  • Sharks
  • Tiger Sharks (Galeocerda cuvieri)

Anti-predator Adaptations: mimic

  • ScienceDaily. 2009. "Venomous Sea Snakes Play Heads Or Tails With Their Predators" (On-line). Accessed February 21, 2010 at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090805201539.htm.
  • Brischoux, F., X. Bonnet, R. Shine. 2007. Foraging ecology of sea kraits Laticauda spp. in the Neo-Caledonian Lagoon. MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, 350: 145-151.
  • Lading, E., R. Stuebing, H. Voris. 1991. A Population Size Estimate of the Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait, Laticauda colubrina on Kalampunian Damit Islandm Sabah, Malaysia. Copeia, 1991: 1139-1142.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Banded sea kraits have eyes and nostrils and can locate and identify prey by smell. In general, sea kraits and true sea snakes have well-developed eyes and Jacobson's organs but lack the heat-sensing organs found in some terrestrial snakes. Also, one study researching the reproductive behavior highlighted the vomeronasal system as a critical part of communication between males and females during reproductive processes. Contact pheromones provide the most critical cues for courtship. Males follow the trail of a female in order to court the female. Also, tongue-flicking was noticed and may be a visual communication cue. The lipid composition in the skin of conspecific males and females differs between sexes and potentially provides another cue for species and sex recognition.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Cycle

When banded sea kraits hatch from the eggs they resemble small adults. They do not undergo any metamorphosis. They display determinant growth with rapid growth in young sea kraits which gradually ceases shortly after sexual maturity is reached. Males reach sexual maturity at about one and a half years and females are sexually mature at one and a half to two and a half years. However, not much has been studied on the specific topic of development in banded sea kraits.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

The lifespan and longevity of banded sea kraits in the wild is unknown. However, it has been suggested that sea snakes generally exhibit a relatively high rate of mortality especially in their young. It is unknown if this trend is upheld in this species. In captivity, sea snakes have proven to be difficult to maintain and often refuse food, become anorexic, and die in a short time due to variety of known and unknown causes. In at least one case study, some of the known causes of death in captive Laticauda colubrina were sepsis secondary to a necrotizing enteritis or pneumonia, multi-organ granulomas and sepsis, and multicentric lymphoid neoplasia with secondary sepsis. These are some problems that cause limited lifespan for the banded sea krait in captivity and, because of this, the species is rarely kept in institutions in the United States.

  • Chinnadurai, S., D. Brown, A. Van Wettere, A. Tuttle, M. Fatzinger, K. Linder, C. Harms. 2008. Mortalities Associated with Sepsis, Parasitism, and Disseminated Round Cell Neoplasia in Yellow-lipped Sea Kratis (Laticauda colubrina). Journal of Zool and Wildlife Medicine, 39(4): 626-630.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

In banded sea kraits, internal fertilization is accomplished by reproductive organs called "hemipenes". Males have two of these reproductive organs and, although both are fully functional, only one is used in any given mating. They are sheathed and lie at the base of the tail. During mating, one of the hemipenes protrudes from its sheath and turns inside out. In this conformation, its surface is covered with spikes and hooks that help secure in the cloaca of the female while mating.

Three main phases of banded sea krait courtship and reproduction have been described. The first phase is called the tactile phase. Males may swim around the shore attempting to find the point of exit of a female that has gone to land. This phase demonstrates the reliance of the sea kraits on pheromonal cues in order to locate and follow the trail of a female. The second phase includes mounting and body alignment. In this stage, a male will drape itself over a female and often twitch spasmodically in an attempt to stimulate the female. Finally, the third phase refers to the actual copulation of the sea kraits. Copulation in sea kraits involves the insertion of the hemipenis of the male into the cloaca of the female.

In a study of mating groups on a small Fijian island, 51% were a male and female pair, and the remainder involved a female and 2 to 9 males. However, males do not appear to exhibit any interaction or competition. Also, in the vast majority of cases, only one male actively courts with a female while the others simply wait and maintain contact with the female. This may reveal two different strategies for male courtship in sea kraits. In one strategy, the male actively tries to stimulate the female until it is ready to copulate. In the other strategy, a male is opportunistic, waiting for the moment in which the female is ready to copulate, then rapidly aligning its cloaca with that of the female. Therefore, in contrast to some other snake species, reproductive success in males seems independent of their body size and strength. On the other hand, the attractiveness of females does have a direct correlation with body size as larger females are more frequently and intensely courted. Also, females rarely show any overt response during the courtship process however they may signal by waving their tails when they are ready to copulate.

Mating System: polyandrous

The breeding cycle for Laticauda colubrina varies geographically. In some populations, such as those in the Philippines, the breeding is aseasonal. However, in other populations of Laticauda colubrina, like those in Fiji and Sabah, it is seasonal with the main mating period occurring during the three month period from September to December. In these populations, the eggs typically hatch from June to August. Like other species of Laticauda, these sea kraits are oviparous and return to land to lay their eggs. However, their clutch size is also subject to geographical variation. For example, clutch size has been reported as 4 to 10 in Fiji and 14 to 20 in New Caledonia. Gestation period has been difficult to document because of asynchronous breeding in many populations of Laticauda colubrina. Also, little has been researched and understood in regards to hatchling sea kraits. Their average birth mass and time to independence is unknown and requires further research.

Breeding interval: The breeding interval of banded sea kaits varies between seasonally or aseasonally depending on geographic location.

Breeding season: Some populations of banded sea kaits are aseasonal and have no specific breeding interval. Populations in Fiji breed seasonally from September to December or January.

Range number of offspring: 4 to 20.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1.5 to 2.5 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1.5 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; sexual ; fertilization ; oviparous

Parental investment for banded sea kraits has not been researched and is not known. Females lay eggs on the shore but it is unclear if they return to the sea or stay on shore to care for their eggs. It has been documented that females tend to spend more time on land than males do, but hypotheses of whether this is due to parental investment or a different, unrelated cause has not been tested. More research is required to determine by what modes and to what extent, parents care for their young in this species.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female)

  • Cox, M., P. Paul van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata, K. Thirakhupt. 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. London: New Holland Publishers.
  • Gorman, G., P. Licht, F. McCollum. 1981. Annual Reproductive Patterns in Three Species of Marine Snakes from the Central Philippines. Journal of Herpetology, 15/3: 335-354.
  • Heatwole, H. 1999. Sea Snakes. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company.
  • Heatwole, H., S. Busack, H. Cogger. 2005. Geographic Variation in Sea Kraits of the Laticauda colubrina Complex (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae: Laticaudini). Herpetological Monographs, 19: 1-136.
  • Shetty, S., R. Shine. 2002. The mating system of yellow-lipped sea kraits (Laticauda columbrina : Laticaudidae). HERPETOLOGICA, 58/2: 170-180.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

Laticauda colubrina is not listed on any of the databases of endangered species indicating that the conservation status of the species has not been documented and is unknown. However, because many Laticauda species aggregate on land they are highly vulnerable to capture. Commercial harvesting, human-induced reduction of habitat in mangrove swamps, industrial pollution of coral reefs and other coastal areas, and overfishing are all environmental hazards that negatively affect the biodiversity and population size of many species of sea snakes. Some researchers have proposed that rainfall and the availability of freshwater may be determining factors in many populations of sea snake species including Laticauda colubrina. To maintain a proper water balance, they drink fresh water or very dilute brackish water in order to counteract the dehydration they experience on land and in salt water. Therefore, the population dynamics of some species of Laticauda may be affected by drought and global climate change.

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

  • Lillywhite, H. 2008. "A long drink of water" (On-line). Natural History. Accessed February 21, 2010 at http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/features/081302/a-long-drink-of-water?page=2.
  • Lillywhite, H., L. Babonis, C. Sheehy III, M. Tu. 2008. Sea Snakes (Laticauda spp.) Require Fresh Drinking Water: Implication for the Distribution and Persistence of Populations. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 81(6): 785-796.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Lane, A., Guinea, M., Gatus, J. & Lobo, A.

Reviewer/s
Livingstone, S.R., Elfes, C.T., Polidoro, B.A. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This is a very widespread species. Although there are some threats, these do not appear to be causing significant declines at this time. Sea level rise may become an important threat to this species in the future. This is listed as Least Concern.














Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
This species has a patchy distribution and can be highly abundant in the locations where it is found.

A population estimate from a small (0.5 km²) rocky island in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, found approximately 721 individuals, with males outnumbering females 4 to 1 (Lading et al. 1991).



Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
The major threats to this species may include anthropogenic disturbances such as coastal development and habitat destruction. This includes loss of shore habitats required for laying eggs and digesting prey. This species is attracted to light and may be affected by lighting from hotels and beach shacks in developing areas (A. Lobo pers. comm.). There is anecdotal evidence that resort developments on some Fijian islands may have reduced population sizes of L. colubrina (M. Guinea pers. comm. cited by Marsh et al. 1993).

Locals in the Andaman Islands suggest that this species was killed for food by Karen migrants from Myanmar, however, there is no confirmed evidence of this. Harvested as smoked sea snake in the Philippines and exported to Japan. This threat is localised to Cebu and Leyte Province (J. Gatus pers. comm. 2009).

Amphibious Laticaudine sea kraits predominantly utilize the inter-tidal region whilst on land and require suitable cover (such as beach rocks) 1-4 meters from the waters edge (Saint Girons 1964, Ineich and LaBoute 2002, A. Lane pers. comm). If suitable habitat in the inter-tidal region is lost due to rising sea levels associated with global warming (Meehl et al. 2005, Bindoff et al. 2007), this is expected to constitute a direct threat. Furthermore, Laticauda spp. have specific oviposition requirements which have been recorded only rarely (Bacolod 1983, M. Guinea pers. comm.). In these instances, egg laying was observed in rocky inter-tidal caves, accessible to kraits only at certain tides. If sea level changes prevent access to suitable laying sites, or render these sites unusable, this would also directly threaten the persistence of Laticaudine sea kraits.

This species is strongly associated with coral reefs and the degradation of this habitat is likely to pose a threat to species persistence. Mass coral bleaching occurs in association with episodes of elevated sea surface temperature and results in significant losses of live coral (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999). This reduces habitat complexity, with a consequent decrease in prey abundance (Pratchett et al. 2008) and the loss of refuge sites. Climate change may thus threaten all sea snakes which are coral reef specialists (Francis 2006).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no species-specific conservation measures for this species, but it does occur in marine protected areas. In the Philippines there are two declared sea snake sanctuaries in Gato Island, Cebu and Pulo Laum, Zamboanga (J. Gatus pers. comm. 2009).

Conservation of Laticauda snakes should take into account both their marine and terrestrial habitat requirements.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Although banded sea kraits are venomous they are extremely reluctant to bite humans even when provoked. They have been known to enter human residences and boats and some bites due to Laticauda colubrina have been documented. However, these attacks are extremely rare and there have been no recorded human fatalities due to this species.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings, venomous )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Although the economic importance specific to banded sea kraits is not referenced, it has been noted that Laticauda sea kraits have a variety of uses. For example, the skins of a variety of Laticauda have been used for leathercraft and sold in the Phillipines since 1930. The Japanese increased the demand for sea kraits when they began commercially importing them from the Philippines and exporting them to Europe as "Japanese sea snake leather". In the Ryukyu Islands of Japan and some other Asian countries the eggs and meat of sea kraits including species of Laticauda are consumed as food. Also, the venom of many snakes may have biomedical applications both in treatment and research. They are also an important part of various coral reef ecosystem and therefore play a role in the ecotourism of some of the islands and countries in which they are located.

Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material; ecotourism ; source of medicine or drug ; research and education

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Laticauda colubrina

The colubrine sea krait, banded sea krait or yellow-lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) is a species of sea snake found in tropical Indo-Pacific oceanic waters.

Description[edit]

See snake scales for terms used

Ventrals are large, one-third to more than half the width of the body; nostrils are lateral; nasals are separated by internasals; 21-25 longitudinal rows of imbricate scales are found at midbody; an azygous prefrontal shield is usually present; and the rostrals are undivided.

The body is subcylindrical, only slightly compressed. The rostral is higher than broad; an azygous shield separates the prefrontals, but sometimes is absent; the frontal is considerably longer than its distance from the end of the snout; one preocular and two postoculars are present; with 7-8 supralabials, the 3rd-4th touch the eye temporals 1+2 ; five infralabials are in contact with the genials, both pairs of which are usually well developed and in contact with one another, the anterior pair is smaller than the posterior; a double series of elongated scales, the inner series the larger, occur at the oral margin. Scales are in 21-23 rows (rarely 25). Ventrals number 213 to 245, and are about four times as long as broad. Caudals in males number 37-47, and in females 29-35 (Smith 1943:443).

The yellow snout and paddle-like tail of L. colubrina, Zamboanguita, Philippines
The yellow snout and paddle-like tail of L. colubrina, Zamboanguita, Philippines

Total length: males 875 mm, females 1420 mm; tail length: males 130 mm, females 145 mm. In colour these snakes are light or dark bluish grey above, yellowish below, with black bands more or less of uniform width throughout or narrowing on the belly (some of them interrupted below). Upper lip yellow. Snout yellow, the colour extending backward on each side of the head on each side of the head above the eye as far as the temporal shields, leaving a dark bar in between. Rest of the head is black. They are venomous but are not aggressive to divers.

Biology[edit]

Banded sea kraits are often seen in large numbers in the company of hunting parties of giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) and goatfish. Their cooperative hunting technique is similar to that of the moray eel, with the kraits flushing out prey from narrow crevices and holes. Kraits need to drink fresh water and regularly come onto land for that purpose.

While probing crevices with their head and thus unable to observe approaching predators, banded sea kraits can fool their potential enemies to believe that their tail is the head. This is based on both colouration and tail movements, such that the lateral aspect of tail corresponds to the dorsal view of the head.[2][3]

Observation and nesting[edit]

Banded sea kraits rest and nest on rocky headlands and beaches of Sabah, Borneo. They can be seen in the wild at Pulau Tiga, the tip of Borneo and Mabul Island. They are, however, seen on many other rocky headlands around Sabah that are harder to access. Occasionally, they come ashore at Tanjung Aru close to Kota Kinabalu. They can be seen in captivity at The Green Connection, an aquarium in Kota Kinabalu.

The males come ashore early in the evening and wait at the high tide line for the females. Females are much larger and many males will escort and intertwine around a single female.

There are fewer recorded bites from this species compared to other poisonous species such as cobras and vipers as it is less aggressive and tends to avoid humans.[4] If they bite, it is usually in self-defence when accidentally grabbed.[5] Many fishermen are bitten each year when they try to clear sea snakes from their nets.[6]

Distribution[edit]

Banded sea krait is a widespread species in eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. It is found from eastern coast of India east through coasts of SE Asia to Malay Archipelago and to southern China, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. Vagrant individuals have been recorded in Australia, New Caledonia, and New Zealand.[1]

Parasites[edit]

Banded sea kraits when collected near the tip of Borneo had heavy tick infections.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lane, A., Guinea, M., Gatus, J. & Lobo, A. (2010). "Laticauda colubrina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Rasmussen, A. R.; Elmberg, J. (2009). "`€˜Head for my tail´€™: A new hypothesis to explain how venomous sea snakes avoid becoming prey". Marine Ecology 30 (4): 385–390. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0485.2009.00318.x.  edit
  3. ^ "Sea snake's two-headed illusion". BBC News. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Laticauda colubrina Colubrine or yellow-lipped sea krait". Animal Diversity Web (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology). 
  5. ^ Karleskint, George; Small, James; Turner, Richard (2009). "Introduction to Marine Biology". Cengage Learning. p. 307. ISBN 9780495561972. 
  6. ^ ClickLaXem (2012-07-11). "National Geographic Wild - Deadly Snakes". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  7. ^ Clark M & S Oakley (2011) Tick parasites on the sea snake Laticauda colubrina. Popular account at: http://tracc-borneo.org/2011/03/sea-snake-parasites-1/, referenced May 2011.
  • Frith,C.B. 1974 Second record of the seasnake Laticauda colubrina in Thailand waters. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. (Bangkok) 25: 209
  • Ota, Hidetoshi;Takahashi, Hiroshi;Kamezaki, Naoki 1985 On specimens of yellow lipped sea krait Laticauda colubrina from the Yaeyama group, Ryūkyū Archipelago. Snake 17: 156-159
  • Pernetta, J. C. 1977 Observations on the habits and morphology of the sea snake Laticauda colubrina (Schneider) in Fiji. Canadian Journal of Zoology 55: 1612-1619
  • Shetty, Sohan;Devi Prasad, K. V. 1996 Geographic variation in the number of bands in Laticauda colubrina Hamadryad 21: 44-45
  • Shetty, S. & Shine, R. 2002 The mating system of Yellow-lipped sea kraits (Laticauda colubrina: Laticaudidae). Herpetologica 58 (2): 170-180
  • Shetty, S. & Shine, R. 2002 Sexual divergence in diets and morphology in Fijian sea snakes Laticauda colubrina (Laticaudinae). Austral Ecology 27: 77-84
  • Voris, Harold K.;Voris, Helen H. 1999 Commuting on the tropical tides: the life of the yellow-lipped sea krait Laticauda colubrina. Reptilia (GB) (6): 23-30
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!