Hydrophis spiralis

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Hydrophis spiralis
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 characteristics[edit]

The scales on thickest part of body have rounded or pointed tips, and are imbricate. Six or seven maxillary teeth are found behind the fangs. The species has 25-31 scale rows around its neck, 33-38 around its midbody, and ventrals number 295-362, and are distinct throughout and about twice as broad as adjacent body scales. Its color is yellowish or yellowish-green above; the dorsal scales are edged with black, and 41-46 narrow black bands encircle the body; the bands are usually less than one-third the width of the lighter interspaces. The head, in the young, is black, with a yellow horseshoe-shaped marking; in the adult, the head is usually yellow. Total length in males is about1.62 metres (5.3 ft), and females 1.830 metres (6.00 ft); tail lengths are 140 millimetres (5.5 in) and 120 millimetres (4.7 in) in males and females, respectively.[3]

Geographic range[edit]

H. spiralis is found in the Indian Ocean (Persian Gulf off Bangladesh, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, New Guinea), and 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. ^ a b 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.)
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/176717/0).