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Laticauda colubrina (SCHNEIDER, 1799)

IUCN Red List - Laticauda colubrina - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae (Laticaudinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Yellow-lipped sea krait
G: Nattern-Plattschwanz
Chinese: 蓝灰扁尾海蛇
S: Culebra del Mar Bandeada 
SynonymHydrus Colubrinus SCHNEIDER 1799: 238
Coluber laticaudatus LINNAEUS 1758 (part.)
Anguis Platura LACÉPÈDE 1790 (fide HEATWOLE et al. 2005)
Platurus fasciatus LATREILLE 1801
Platurus colubrinus — WAGLER 1830
Coluber platycaudatus OKEN 1836
Hydrophis colubrina — SCHLEGEL 1837
Hydrus colubrinus — BEGBIE 1846: 408 (?)
Laticauda scutata CANTOR 1847 (not of LAURENTI 1768)
Platurus fasciatus var. colubrina — FISCHER 1856
Platurus laticaudatus var. B. — GÜNTHER 1858 (part.)
Platurus colubrinus — FISCHER 1884: 50
Platurus colubrinus — FISCHER 1888
Platurus colubrinus — BOULENGER 1896
Platurus frontalis DE VIS 1905: 48
Laticauda colubrina — STEJNEGER 1907: 406
Platurus colubrinus — WALL 1909: 186
Laticauda colubrina — SMITH 1943: 443
Laticauda colubrina — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 140
Laticauda colubrina — LINER 1994
Laticauda colubrina — COX et al. 1998: 33
Laticauda colubrina — COGGER 2000: 724
Laticauda frontalis — COGGER & HEATWOLE 2006
Laticauda colubrina — RASMUSSEN et al. 2011
Laticauda colubrina — WALLACH et al. 2014: 363 
DistributionIndian Ocean (E India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (= Burma), Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia [Borneo], Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Solomon Islands [McCoy 2000], Vanuatu
Gulf of Thailand, Philippines (Luzon, Cebu, Sibuyan etc.), Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands, Palau,
Coasts of Taiwan (China)
Bay of Bengal
coasts of Malay Peninsula, Singapore,
Indoaustralian Archipelago to New Guinea, Timor-Leste
Japan (Ryukyu Islands)
Australia (Queensland), New Zealand
Western Pacific Ocean to Fiji, New Caledonia

Possibly introduced to the Mediterranean Sea (Korfu).

Type locality: not given  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 9078 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Ventrals large, one-third to more than half the width of the body; nostrils lateral; nasals separated by internasals; 21–25 longitudinal rows of imbricate scales at midbody; an azygous prefrontal shield usually present; rostral undivided; ventrals 213–243; subcaudals: males 37–47, females 29–35 (ventral and subcaudal counts after Smith 1943:443). Upper lip yellow. Total length: males 875 mm, females 1420 mm; tail length: males 130 mm, females 145 mm. [after LEVITON 2003]

Comparisons: In Australia, L. colubrina has scales in 21 or more rows at mid-body; upper lips are white or cream-coloured. L. laticaudata has scales in 19 rows at mid-body; upper lips are black or dark brown

Original description: see Bauer & Lavilla 2021

Characters (Andaman islands): Chandramouli 2022

Detailed description: Smith 1926: 7

Variation: Smith 1926: 8 presents scale counts for about 40 specimens.

Measurements and other features: Heatwole et al. 2005: 42 (Table 8) 

Synonymy partly after COGGER 1983 and PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970, and HEATWOLE et al 2005. SHINE et al. (2002) show that L. colubrina and L. frontalis are sibling species that are reproductively isolated.

Distribution: The sea krait Laticauda colubrina is the most widespread member of its genus, extending from the Bay of Bengal through much of Asia and the Indo-Malayan Archipelago to New Guinea and many islands of the western Pacific Ocean. Steinicke & Trutnau (1993), later cited by TOTH et al. (2002), reported a sighting of this species on the coast of Corfu (a Greek island!). See map in Gherghel et al. 2016 and Heatwole et al. 2017. Reports from Mexico (Chiapas, etc.), El Salvador, and Nicaragua are based on a few reports without voucher specimens (e.g. Villa 1962, Alvarez del Toro 1972) and are thus dubious.

Sympatry: Laticauda frontalis (de Vis, 1905) is a dwarf species found in sympatry and syntopy with Laticauda colubrina in Vanuatu and the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia.

Genome: Kishida et al. 2020 sequenced the genome of L. colubrina.

Distribution: See map in Kishida et al. 2020. Not in New South Wales fide Swan et al. 2017, Field Guide.

Habitat: marine. 
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