Annulated Sea Snake ( Hydrophis cyanocinctus Daudin, 1803 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Hydrophis cyanocinctus (Daudin, 1803)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Blue-Banded Sea Snake
Kannada: 
ಉಂಗುರದ ಕಡಲ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
In India its distribution is whole of mainland coast from Gujarat to West Bengal. Also found in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Guinea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and UAE. Type locality- Coromandal (India).
Venom Type: 
Neurotoxic
Family: 
Description: 

Maximum length- 275cm.

Body -
Anterior body not slender, posterior compressed and its greatest diameter is 2-2.5 times of neck. Color and markings variable, usually pale yellow, olive brown, green, grey dorsally with whitish belly. 50-75 bluish-black bands found mainly in three manner, 1) encircling the body with broader on the top, 2) encircling the body with almost uniform width, 3) broadest on the top, leaving no pattern on side and again present on belly in narrow form. On the posterior side bands on the top are always broader than interspace. Bands and patterns may get faint with ageing.

Head -
Head moderate, scarcely or not broader than neck. Shields entire, nostrils and eyes at the upper and same level of head. Small eyes with rounded pupil.

Scalation
Head: 
7-8 supralabial, 2nd in contact with prefrontal, 3rd to 5th or any two of them in contact with eyes; 1 preocular, 2 postocular; 1-2 anterior temporal.
Dorsal: 
(25) 27-35 scales around the neck, 37-47 around the body with 8-14 increase, imbricate throughout with a central keel which may be broken into a series of 2-3 tubercles.
Ventral: 
279-390, distinct throughout, anteriorly about twice as broad as the adjacent dorsals while posteriorly slightly less.
Habitat: 
Found over muddy bottom of shallow seas up to 40km away from coast.
Natural History: 
Swims well both in shallow and deep water of seas and mangroves up to 40 km away from coast. Locomotion slow on land but performs better than most of other Sea Snakes. Behavior alert and may become aggressive on threatening. Directly gives birth to 3-18 young. Parturition occurs mostly during January-February and gravid females can be seen from late monsoon to most of the summer. Female hatchlings larger than males.
Diet: 
Feeds on eels, gobies and marine invertebrates.
Threats: 
Direct threats are killing during various fishing operations. Few individuals get trapped in fishing nets and fisherman often kill them before taking them out of net.
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