Sea krait  |  

Laticauda colubrina


Sea kraits are sea snakes that depend on the shore of coral islets for digestion, reproduction (mating and egg laying), skin sloughing and resting after foraging at sea. Laticauda colubrina is a moderately built species characterised by smooth imbricate (overlapping) body scales and numerous black bands, broad ventral scales, laterally positioned nostrils and a paddle-like tail. The head is black except for the snout and upper lip which are yellow. The yellow area may extend above the eye to the temporal region. An azygous (single) scale is usually present giving three prefrontal scales. The head scales are large, regular and usually entire. The body scales are smooth and overlapping and form 21–25 rows at the mid-body. The ventral scales are broad, single and number between 210–250. The anal scale is divided. The subcaudal scales (near the tail) are sexually dimorphic with 29–35 for females and 37–47 for males. Adults grow to about one metre on average. Despite their effective venom apparatus, this species is docile and reluctant to bite defensively, even when handled roughly. In general, this species is less well adapted for a marine existence than other sea snakes. This is reflected in its more terrestrial habits.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • IUCN Red List Assessment, Laticauda colubrina

    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.

    Climate change may thus threaten all sea snakes which are coral reef specialists (Francis 2006).