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Sea Snake

Page history last edited by Kathleen Shampoop 9 years, 10 months ago


Sea Snake


Ciara O'Donnell




 Sea snakes are cold-blooded reptiles that have adapted over time to live in the ocean. A sea snake is an elapidae. There are approximately 55 species of sea snakes that live in today's waters. They have an abdomen shaped like a boat and a paddle-like tail that helps them to move smoothly through the currents. The scales on a sea snake vary depending on the kind. They can either be smooth, bumpy, or even spiny. All sea snakes have nostrils, some on the top of their snout, so that they can breathe when they come up to the surface for air. They are very skilled when it comes to holding their breath and can dive around to 90 meters (300 feet) into the oceans depths. The salt from the water is expelled from their body through a gland under their tongue. The biggest type of sea snake can grow up to be around 2-3 meters. There are two types of sea snakes. The Laticaudidae and Hydrophiinae. The only difference is that one of them (Laticaudidae) stays on land for a good portion of their lives as well as inhabiting the ocean. 





Most of the sea snakes live in the waters in tropical areas. Some live in more muddy areas but some also opt for clearer places like lakes. Sea snakes also reside in reefs. Some oceans that sea snakes usually settle in are the Indian and Pacific. Quite a few species are found near Oceania. They are found sometimes in coastlines. Sea snakes like  the more shallow places or coastal areas compared to the depths of the ocean. Most sea snakes would be helpless if put on land but some can survive just long enough to lay their eggs and struggle back to the water.  



Symbiotic Interactions*


The Harlequin snake eel and the banded sea snake share the symbiotic relationship of mimicry. Out in the ocean, the eel is view to the other organisms as food. The snake on the other hand, is viewed as a predator due to it's poison. The Harlequin snake eel looks very much like the banded sea snake so to protect itself from the predators around it, the eel would disguise itself as the snake so it would not be eaten. This helps drive away the hungry predators and protect the eels at the same time. Another symbitic relation of a sea snake is created with a Barnacle. This relationship is one of commensalism.



Predator Adaptions *


A lot of sea snakes have venomous fangs that inject a powerful poison into their prey. This poison immobilizes their prey so that the snake can eat it without an issue. Sea snakes eat many different organisms such as crabs, small fish, shrimp, eels and mollusks. There are some species, however, that have adapted over time to eat the eggs of fish and other marine dwellers. Others have adapted to eat just strictly a certain type of fish like the catfish or Gobies.



Prey Adaptations*


There are quite a few things that eat sea snakes like sharks (mainly the Tiger Shark), predatory fish, sea eagles and sometimes even crocodiles. To protect themselves from being eaten, they sometimes use camouflage to blend in with their surroundings. Others would have brightly colored scales used as warning signals to the predatory organisms to tell them to keep away. the bright scales would also sometimes mean that the snake tastes bad and that it would not be enjoyable for the organism to eat as prey. Some predators have also learned that some snakes have very strong poison in their bodies



Species Comparison*




The sea snake and eels (Moray Eel) have some similarities. For instance, they both live in marine habitats. The diets between the two organisms are similar. They both eat fish, crustaceans, worms, and mollusks. The sea snake and the eel also have similar body types as both organisms are vertebrates .  They also both sometimes reside in reefs and shallow tropical areas even though eels are most commonly found in the deeper bits of the ocean. They are also both carnivores.




Eels all have gills so that they never have to surface from the water. Sea snakes, however, are like true snakes and can only go around an hour and a half before resurfacing to get another breath of air in their lungs. Eels are considered a type of fish. Sea snakes aren't. Like normal snakes, they are considered reptiles. Sea snakes are venomous but eels have different way of catching prey an protecting themselves from predators.  



banded sea snakeSea Snake




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Sea Snake. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 29 May 2013.




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