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Blue-lipped sea krait facts for kids

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Blue-lipped sea krait
Laticauda laticaudata.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
  • Coluber laticaudatus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Laticauda scutata Laurenti, 1768
  • Platurus laticaudatus Girard, 1858

The blue-lipped sea krait, blue-banded sea krait, or common sea krait (Laticauda laticaudata) is a species of venomous sea snake in the subfamily Laticaudinae, family Elapidae. It is found in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans.


The blue-lipped sea krait was one of the many species originally described by Carl Linnaeus in his landmark 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name Coluber laticaudatus. There are two subspecies, Laticauda laticaudata laticaudata and Laticauda laticaudata affinis.


Laticauda laticaudata (Ko Samui)
L. laticaudata hunting in the coral reefs offshore in Ko Samui, Thailand.

Ventral scales of this snake are large, one-third to more than one-half the width of the body; the nostrils are lateral; nasal scales are separated by internasals; 19 longitudinal rows of imbricate scales are found at midbody; no azygous prefrontal shield is present; rostral scales are undivided; ventrals number 225–243; subcaudals number 38–47 in males, females have 30–35 (ventral and subcaudal counts after Smith 1943:443). The upper lip is dark brown. Total length varies with sex: males are 910 mm (36 in), females are 1,070 mm (42 in); tail lengths are similar: 110 mm (4.3 in). The 19 rows of scales and the dark brown upper lip can be used to differentiate the blue-lipped sea krait from other Laticauda species.

Distribution and habitat

This species is found in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans: Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh, East India, Andaman Islands, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand), coasts of Malay Peninsula to Indonesia, Timor-Leste, New Guinea, the Philippines, off the coasts of Fujian and Taiwan, Japan, Polynesia, Melanesia, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Australia (Queensland). One specimen was found in Devonport, New Zealand in 2011, however died shortly after being taken to Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium.

Special features

This snake is known to warm up in wedge-tailed shearwater burrows.

  • Kharin V. E. 1984 Revision of sea snakes of subfamily Laticaudinae Cope, 1879 sensu lato (Serpentes, Hydrophiidae). Trudy Zoologicheskogo Instituta 124: 128-139


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