Hydrophis spiralis

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Hydrophis spiralis
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae[1]
Subfamily: Hydrophiinae
Genus: Hydrophis
Species: H. spiralis
Binomial name
Hydrophis spiralis
(Shaw, 1802)
  • Hydrus spiralis Shaw, 1802
  • Enhydris spiralis
    - Merrem, 1820
  • Hydrophis spiralis
    - Gray, 1849
  • Lioselasma spiralis
    - Wall, 1921
  • Leioselasma spiralis
    - Kharin, 1984[2][3]

Hydrophis spiralis, commonly known as the yellow sea snake, is a species of venomous sea snake in the family Elapidae.[1]


This is perhaps the longest species of seasnake, up to 2.75 metres (9.0 ft).

Diagnostic Characters- Scales on thickest part of body with rounded or pointed tips, imbricate; 6-7 maxillary teeth behind fangs; normally 1 anterior temporal; 6-8 upper labials; 25-31 scale rows around neck, 33-38 around midbody (increase from neck to midbody 4-8); ventrals 295-362, distinct throughout, about twice as broad as adjacent body scales; yellowish or yellowish-green above, dorsal scales edged with black, 41-46 narrow black bands encircle body, the bands usually less than one third the width of the lighter interspaces; head in young black, with a yellow horseshoe-shaped marking; in adult head usually yellow. Total length, males 1,620 millimetres (5.31 ft), females 1,830 millimetres (6.00 ft); tail length, males 140 millimetres (5.5 in), females 120 millimetres (4.7 in).[4]

Geographic range[edit]

Indian Ocean (Persian Gulf, Bangladesh, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, New Guinea), New Caledonia/Loyalty Islands.


  1. ^ a b "Hydrophis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 7 September 2007. 
  2. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ),... Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). London. pp. 273-274.
  3. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  4. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.

Further reading[edit]

  • Frith, C.B. 1977. The sea snake Hydrophis spiralis (Shaw); a new species of the fauna of Thailand. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. (Bangkok) 26: 339-341.
  • Shaw, G. 1802. General Zoology or Systematic Natural History, Vol. III., Part II. Amphibia. G. Kearsley (Thomas Davison, printer). London. vi + 313-365. (Hydrus spiralis, p. 564.)