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Aipysurus eydouxii facts for kids

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Aipysurus eydouxii
Aipysurus eydouxii.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
  • Tomogaster eydouxii
    Gray, 1849
  • Aipysurus margaritiphorus
    Bleeker, 1858
  • Aipysurus eydouxii
    Boulenger, 1896
  • Aipysurus eydouxi [sic]
    — Smedley, 1931
  • Aepyurus [sic] eydouxi
    — M.A. Smith, 1943
  • Aipysurus eydouxii
    — Cogger, 2000

Aipysurus eydouxii, commonly known as the beaded sea snake, marbled seasnake, or spine-tailed seasnake, is a species of sea snake in the family Elapidae. This species of snake is unusual amongst sea snakes in that it feeds exclusively on fish eggs. As part of this unusual diet, this species has lost its fangs, and the venom glands are almost entirely atrophied.


The specific name, eydouxii, commemorates the French naturalist Joseph Fortuné Théodore Eydoux.

Geographic range

A. eydouxii is found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Vietnam, and New Guinea.


Adults of A. eydouxii may attain a snout to vent length (SVL) of 1 m (3.3 ft). The head shields are regular and symmetrical. The smooth dorsal scales are arranged in 17 rows at midbody. The ventrals, which are distinct throughout the length of the body, range from 141 to 149; the subcaudals, from 27 to 30.


A. eydouxii inhabits shallow bays and estuaries.


A. eydouxii eats the eggs of fish. Relative to other sea snakes, it has several derived characteristics related to its special diet. These include strong throat musculature, consolidation of lip scales, reduction and loss of teeth, greatly reduced body size, and (due to a dinucleotide deletion in the 3FTx gene) much reduced toxicity of the venom.

Only one other species of sea snake, Emydocephalus annulatus, shares A. eydouxii’s eggs-only diet.

  • Boulenger GA (1896). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Families Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ) ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Aipysurus eydouxii, p. 304).
  • , Goin OB, (1978). Introduction to Herpetology: Third Edition. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company. xi + 378 pp. ISBN: 0-7167-0020-4. (Genus Aipysurus, p. 332).
  • Gray JE (1849). Catalogue of the Specimens of Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum. (Edward Newman, printer). xv + 125 pp. (Tomogaster eydouxii, new species, p. 59).
  • Kharin VE (1981). "A review of sea snakes of the genus Aipysurus (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae)". Zoological Zhurnal 60 (2): 257-264.
  • Li M, Fry BG, Kini RM (2005). "Putting the brakes on snake venom evolution: The Unique Molecular Evolutionary Patterns of Aipysurus eydouxii (Marbled Sea Snake) Phospholipase A2 Toxins". Molecular Biology and Evolution 22 (4): 934-941.
  • 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. ("Aepyurus eydouxi [sic]", pp. 445–446).
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