Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Life of Yellow Lipped Sea Krait

Life of Sea | Yellow Lipped Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina) | This sea snake is one of highly venomous marine reptile. Yellow lipped sea krait is also called Colubrine Sea Krait or Banded Sea Krait. Yellow lipped sea krait gets its name from its yellow upper lip. It is also referred to as the banded sea krait due to the numerous black bands covering the body. They are large amphibious sea snakes, so you can found then in the sea or in the land. They are found primarily in warm tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific. They live in coral reefs, mangrove swamps, estuaries.

Yellow lipped sea kraits have a cylindrical body shape with a laterally compressed , paddle-like tail. They are banded with 20-65 black bands on a usually blue or blue-gray body. These bands extend from the neck area to the tip of the tail. The ventral (bottom ) surface of the body is usually lighter than the top. The black head has yellowish accents. Yellow lipped sea kraits have many adaptations that enable them to live in both marine and land environments. Large belly scales assist them in moving on land and climbing low hanging tree branches. A salt gland under the tongue gives them the ability to expel excess salt absorbed from the marine environment. They have the ability to breath  through the skin as well as the lungs. It is estimated that the skin of the sea krait absorbs 1/5 of its total oxygen needs and eliminates almost all the carbon dioxide the snake produces.

In nature, yellow lipped sea kraits feed on eels. They also feed on small fish. The venom of the sea krait affects both muscles and nerves . It is 10 times more toxic than that of a rattlesnake. In fact, over 60 known species of sea snakes in the Pacific and Indian Oceans are venomous. In one bite, yellow lipped sea kraits can give ten times the venom needed to kill an human. They do not recognize human as their prey or predator. Mostly, they  avoid us. This can be seen in nature documentaries in which divers with cameras swim inches away from the snakes while the animals poke their heads into coral reefs in search of something more interesting. 

The discovery, made by Dr Arne Redsted Rasmussen and Dr Johan Elmberg, showed that Yellow-lipped Sea Kraits (Laticauda colubrina) use skin markings and behaviour patterns to fool predators into thinking their tail is a second head, complete with lethal venom. The divers do not need to worry with these snakes when  they meet. Yellow lipped sea kraits are calm animal. They always try to avoid human. When you are fringing the beach and playing on the beach, you should pay attention to the region protruding rocks at low tide or a snake that washed up on the shores of the sea. It tends to be more dangerous when they are attack in the land than in the sea.

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