Spine-bellied sea snake

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Hardwicke's spine-bellied seasnake
Lapemis hardwickii.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Hydrophis
Species: H. hardwickii
Binomial name
Hydrophis hardwickii
(Gray, 1834)
  • Lapemis hardwickii Gray, 1834
  • Hypsirhina hardwickii
    Hardwicke & Gray, 1835
  • Hydrophis hardwickii
    Günther, 1864
  • Enhydris hardwickii
    Boulenger, 1896
  • Lapemis hardwickii
    Stejneger, 1907
  • Hydrophis hardwickii
    Sanders et al., 2012[1]

The spine-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis hardwickii ), also commonly known as Hardwicke's sea snake[2] and Hardwicke's spine-bellied sea snake, is a species of venomous elapid sea snake.


The specific name, hardwickii, is in honor of English naturalist Thomas Hardwicke.[2]


  • Body short, stout, neck region not less than half as thick at midbody;
  • head large; scales squarish or hexagonal, juxtaposed, outer 3-4 rows larger than others, scale rows: males 23-31 around neck, females 27-35, around midbody, males 25-27, females 33-41;
  • ventrals small, usually distinct anteriorly, not so posteriorly, in males 114-186, in females 141-230; head shields entire, parietals occasionally divided;
  • nostrils superior, nasals in contact with one another;
  • prefrontal usually in contact with second upper labial;
  • 7-8 upper labials, 3-4 bordering eye; 1 pre- and 1-2 postoculars; 2, rarely 3, anterior temporals; greenish or yellow- olive above, whitish below, 35-50 olive to dark gray dorsal bars, tapering to a point laterally, occasionally encircling body, a narrow dark ventral stripe or broad irregular band occasionally present;
  • adults often lack any pattern and are uniform olive to dark gray;
  • head pale olive to black, yellow markings on snout present or not. Total length 860 mm (2' 4"), tail length 85 mm (3.3").

Geographic range[edit]

This species is located in warm waters:

hardwickii: Burma, southeast coast of India and the Straits of Malacca, east to Australia and north to China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan.[3]


  1. ^ "Hydrophis hardwickii ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  2. ^ a b Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Lapemis hardwickii, p. 116).
  3. ^ Leviton et al. 2003

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA (1896). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthogylyphæ and Proteroglyphæ) ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Enhydris hardwickii, p. 301).
  • Gray JE (1835). Illustrations of Indian Zoology, chiefly selected from the collection of Major - General Hardwicke. Vol. 2. London (1833-1834): 263 pp., 95 plates. (Lapemis hardwickii, new species, Plate 87, Figure 2).
  • Gray JE (1843). "Description of two new species of reptiles from the collection made during the voyages of H.M.S. Sulphur." Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. [First Series] 11: 46.
  • Gritis P, Voris HK (1990). "Variability and significance of parietal and ventral scales in the marine snakes of the genus Lapemis (Serpentes: Hydrophiidae), with comments on the occurrence of spiny scales in the genus." Fieldiana Zool., New Series (56): i-iii + 1-13.
  • Günther ACLG (1864). The Reptiles of British India. London: The Ray Society. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xxvii + 452 pp. + Plates I-XXVI. (Hydrophis hardwickii, p. 380 + Plate XXV, figure W).
  • Smith MA (1943). The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. III.—Serpentes. London: Secretary of State for India. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 583 pp. (Lapemis hardwickii, pp. 468–470, Figures 148 & 149).

External links[edit]