Laticauda

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Laticauda
Laticauda colubrina Lembeh2.jpg
Laticauda colubrina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Subfamily: Hydrophiinae
Genus: Laticauda
Laurenti, 1768
Species

eight, see text

Laticauda or sea kraits are a genus of venomous elapid snakes from the family Hydrophiinae. They are semi-aquatic, they retain the wide ventral scales typical of terrestrial snakes for moving on land but also have paddle-shaped tails for swimming.[1] Sea kraits are often confused with another group of aquatic reptiles: sea snakes. However, unlike the fully aquatic ovoviviparous sea snakes, sea kraits are oviparous and must come to land to digest prey and lay eggs.[2] They also have independent evolutionary origins into aquatic habitats, with sea kraits diverging earlier from other Australasian elapids.[3][4] Thus, sea kraits and sea snakes are an example of convergent evolution into aquatic habitats within Hydrophiinae snakes.

Description[edit]

Sea kraits are semi-aquatic and so have morphological adaptations to both land and sea. Laticauda species show traits intermediate between those of sea snakes and terrestrial elapids. They have a vertically flattened and paddle-shaped tail (similar to sea snakes) and laterally positioned nostrils and broad, laterally expanded ventral scales (similar terrestrial elapids).[1][5][6] Their body has a striped pattern, nasal scales are separated by inter-nasals scales, and the maxillary bone extends forwards beyond the palatine bone.[2] Members of Laticauda can grow to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) long.[7]

Location[edit]

Laticauda species are found throughout the south and southeast Asian islands spreading from India in the west, north as far as Japan, and southeast to Fiji. They are mostly found in coastal waters.[8]

Diet[edit]

Laticauda species feed in the ocean, mostly eating moray and conger eels, and some squid, crabs, and fish. They have never been observed feeding on land.

Behavior[edit]

Laticauda species are often active at night, which is when they prefer to hunt. Though they possess highly toxic venom, Laticauda snakes are usually shy and reclusive, and in New Caledonia, where they are called tricot rayé ("stripey sweater"), children play with them. Bites are extremely rare, but must be treated immediately.[9] Black-banded sea kraits, numbering in the hundreds, form hunting alliances with yellow goatfish and bluefin trevally, flushing potential prey from narrow crannies in a reef the same way some moray eels do.[10][11] Sea kraits are capable to of diving up to 80 meters in a single hunting trip.[12] Sea kraits have a remarkable ability to climb up vertical rocks of their coastal limestone habitats.[1]

Breeding[edit]

Laticauda females are oviparous, and they return to land to mate and lay eggs. Several males will form a mating ball around the female, twitching their bodies in what is termed "caudocephalic waves". Though these animals can occur in high densities in suitable locations, nests of eggs are very rarely encountered, suggesting specific nesting conditions need to be met.

Species and taxonomy[edit]

Eight species are currently recognised,[13][14]

The species L. schistorhynchus and L. semifasciata have been placed in the genus Pseudolaticauda by some authors.[15]

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Laticauda.

Parasites[edit]

Sea snakes have thick parasites with occasionally heavy infections .[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 1. Wilson, 2. Swan, 1. Stephen K, 2. Gerry (2013). A complete guide to reptiles of Australia. Chatswood, NSW: New Holland Publishers. p. 564. 
  2. ^ a b Cogger, Hal (2000). Reptiles and amphibians of Australia. Sydney, NSW: Reed New Holland. p. 722. 
  3. ^ Pyron, R. Alexander; Burbrink, Frank T.; Colli, Guarino R.; de Oca, Adrian Nieto Montes; Vitt, Laurie J.; Kuczynski, Caitlin A.; Wiens, John J. (2011-02-01). "The phylogeny of advanced snakes (Colubroidea), with discovery of a new subfamily and comparison of support methods for likelihood trees". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 58 (2): 329–342. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.11.006. ISSN 1095-9513. PMID 21074626. 
  4. ^ KEOGH, J. SCOTT (1998-02-01). "Molecular phylogeny of elapid snakes and a consideration of their biogeographic history". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 63 (2): 177–203. doi:10.1006/bijl.1997.0178. 
  5. ^ Shine, R.; Shetty, S. (2001-03-01). "Moving in two worlds: aquatic and terrestrial locomotion in sea snakes (Laticauda colubrina, Laticaudidae)". Journal of Evolutionary Biology 14 (2): 338–346. doi:10.1046/j.1420-9101.2001.00265.x. ISSN 1420-9101. 
  6. ^ Brischoux, François; Kato, Akiko; Ropert-Coudert, Yan; Shine, Richard (2010-10-30). "Swimming speed variation in amphibious seasnakes (Laticaudinae): A search for underlying mechanisms". Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 394 (1–2): 116–122. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2010.08.001. 
  7. ^ Activity Patterns of Yellow-Lipped Sea Kraits (Laticauda colubrina) on a Fijian Island.
  8. ^ Kindersley, Dorling. (2005) [2001]. Animal. New York City: DK Publishing. ISBN 0-7894-7764-5. 
  9. ^ Notes du Centre d'études biologiques de Chizé (UPR1934 CNRS), CNRS DR15 - La Lettre de la Délégation n°202.
  10. ^ http://www.arkive.org/black-banded-sea-krait/laticauda-semifasciata/image-G78940.html
  11. ^ http://www.bbcearth.com/programmes/planet-earth-36/
  12. ^ Motani, Ryosuke (19 May 2009). "The Evolution of Marine Reptiles". Evo Edu Outreach 2: 224–235. 
  13. ^ Heatwole H, Busack S, Cogger H. (2005). Geographic variation in sea kraits of the Laticauda colubrina complex (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hydrophiinae: Laticaudini). Herpetological Monographs 19: 1-136.
  14. ^ Cogger HG, Heatwole HF. (2006). Laticauda frontalis (de Vis, 1905) and Laticauda saintgironsi n.sp. from Vanuato and New Caledonia (Serpentes: Elapidae: Laticaudinae) – a new lineage of sea kraits? Records of the Australian Museum 58: 245-256.
  15. ^ Kharin VE, Czeblukov VP. (2006). A new revision of the sea kraits of family Laticaudidae Cope, 1879 (Serpentes: Colubroidea). Russian Journal of Herpetology 13: 227-241.
  16. ^ Clark M, Oakley S. (2011). http://tracc-borneo.org/2011/03/sea-snake-parasites-1/, referenced May 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Laurenti JN. 1768. Specimen medicum, exhibens synopsin reptilium emendatam cum experimentis circa venena et antidota reptilium austriacorum. Vienna: "Joan. Thom. Nob. de Trattnern". 214 pp. + Plates I-V. (Laticauda, new genus, p. 109). (in Latin).
  • Sea krait slithering on coastal rocks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAe69AlIvR4