Yellow Sea Snake in Nighttime Ambush Posture

Posted on August 23, 2017

Hydrophis platurus xanthos

This yellow sea snake is pictured in an ambush posture. The snake was recently identified as a new subspecies of yellow sea snake. It hangs upside down at night from the water surface to feed on small fish as they pass by.

The subspecies from Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica lives in a more hostile environment than its related species, the yellow-bellied sea snake. The waters its inhabits are warmer and more turbulent. The snake has adapted to its environment by hunting at night. Scientists say it could turn out to be a completely new species once more data is collected.

The snake is described in an article published in the journal ZooKeys. It is described by Brooke Bessesen, Phoenix Zoo, USA, and Dr. Gary Galbreath, Northwestern University and The Field Museum of Natural History, USA.

The authors say, "Hopefully this globally unique population can continue to offer both scientists and conservation-conscious tourists a worthy subject of observation and study."

Image: Brooke L. Bessesen

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