Yellowbellied seasnake

Pelamis platurus

SUBFAMILY

Hydrophiinae

TAXONOMY

Anguisplaturus Linnaeus, 1766, no type locality. OTHER COMMON NAMES

German: Plättchen-Seeschlange; Spanish: Serpiente-marina pelágica.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This species has an average length of approximately 28 in (70 cm). Yellow and black stripes run the length of the body.

DISTRIBUTION

Equatorial waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans from the east coast of Africa to the west coast of the Americas.

HABITAT

This species is fully pelagic, inhabiting open waters.

BEHAVIOR

This seasnake may use migratory routes. It reaches high density in warm tropical waters. To molt, the snake coils itself into a ball, rubbing the skin of one area of its body against the skin of another area.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This species preys on surface-active fish in slicks, areas of calm water where two ocean currents meet.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

This snake is live-bearing, with females giving birth to two to six young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This species is venomous but of little threat to humans. ♦

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