Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life of Blue-lipped Sea Krait

Life of Sea | Blue-lipped Sea Krait (Laticauda laticaudata) | Blue-lipped sea krait is a species of sea snake. Blue-lipped sea krait has also been observed to display an interesting way of staying warm. This sea snake is usually found on coral reefs and rocky areas along the sea coast where the breeding snakes aggregate in summer.  Around the world, it ranges in Indian Ocean (East India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Melanesia, Polynesia), Solomon Islands, Gulf of Thailand, Philippines, Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands, Taiwan, China, Bay of Bengal, Peninsular Malaysia, 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. Blue-lipped sea krait has medium size length. It has max length about 120 cm.

The term Laticauda is from the Latin latus which means broad, and cauda, tail, in reference to the wide and flat tail.  Blue-lipped sea krait rows of smooth and glossy scales body. It has broad  head and  flattened on top. The head is very slightly triangular, but not distinct from neck. The body is moderately stout and slightly compressed laterally, especially in posterior quarter. The tail is laterally compressed, sides with vertically elongated scales. The ventrals are medium size and distributed over one-third to more than half the width of body. Eye is medium-sized. The iris is dark brown to black and pupil is round, black, indistinct. Tongue is flesh-colored, darkened by scatttered black pigment, and outer half of its fork tips is dirty white. Fangs are medium size, rigid, in anterior part of upper jaw. 

Blue-lipped sea krait has two prefrontals and no loreals. The rostral is entire. Upper head is blackish and distinctly marked with a broad band of creamy or light cyan anterior to eyes and extending to sides of head behind eyes. Upper body and tail are cyan to blue while ventral body is dirty white to cream, which are encircled completely by black, prominent bands with clearly defined borders. The black band is similar to the interspaces in width. Ventral head has a prominent broad longitudinal black stripe, extending posteriorly from the mouth to join the black bands of the body. Chin and gular shields are dirty white to cream. Anal scale is divided and subcaudals are paired.

Blue-lipped sea krait is one of world's most venomous snake species. So, if you see this snake around you, do not be close with it. Do not touch this snake. However, due to their inoffensive, docile nature they seldom bite, even in self defense. It feeds on slender fish, mainly eels.  Females produce 2-4 eggs in a clutch. The snout-vent length of smallest mature female and male is 58 and 53 cm

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