Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life of Yellow Bellied Sea Snake

 

Life of Sea | Yellow Bellied Sea Snake (Pelamis platurus) | This sea snake is also called Yellowbelly Sea Snake or Pelagic Sea Snake. Yellow-bellied sea snakes are usually found within a few kilometers of the coast and prefers shallow inshore waters. They also occur  in the open waters, from coasts and reefs. Yellow-bellied sea snake can be found in the Indian and Pacific oceans around eastern Africa, Madagascar, Arabia, India, the coastal line of south-eastern Asia, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Their range extends to the western coast of the Americas from Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, north to Baja California and the Gulf of California coasts.   


Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Subphylum:     Vertebrata
Class:     Reptilia
Order:     Squamata
Suborder:     Serpentes
Family:     Elapidae, F. Boie, 1827
Subfamily:     Hydrophiinae


This snake has unique color among the sea snakes. The upper (or dorsal) surface of the body is black or dark brown which contrasts with the cream, yellow or pale brown of the underside. These colors meet sharply along the flanks. The tail is yellow with black bars or spots. The head scales are enlarged and regular. The body scales are small, juxtaposed and more or less hexagonal or triangular in shape in 47–69 rows at the mid-body. The ventral scales are small and usually divided and scarcely wider than the adjacent body scales and number 264–406. Adults grow to an average length of 70 cm.


Yellow-bellied sea snakes feed primarily on fish. Fish are captured either by a sideways movement of the head or by swimming backwards, enabling the snake to seize the prey with a sudden lunge forward. Yellow-bellied sea snakes wait quietly at the surface waiting for their preys. The most common prey species were mullets (Mugilidae), jacks (Carangidae), anchovies (Serranidae) and juvenile dolphin fish (Coryphaena).  


Yellow-bellied sea snakes live their entire life cycle at sea. They are able to swim backwards and forwards, but they can not move efficiently on shore. It is unknown to be very agressive, usually reluctant to strike, and often strikes without injecting venom. Yellow-bellied sea snakes has low venom, but it is still considered potentially dangerous to humans.

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