Short Sea Snake ( Hydrophis curtus Shaw, 1802 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Hydrophis curtus (Shaw, 1802)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Shaw's Sea Snake
Kannada: 
ಷಾ ಕಡಲ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
In India its distribution is all coasts of mainland (from Gujarat to West Bengal). Also found in coasts of Australia, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Guinea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam.
Venom Type: 
Neurotoxic
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified by checking bands of moderate width which encircles around body and rather robust appearance. 

Description: 

Average length- 60cm.
Maximum length- 85cm.

Body -
Short and stout. Dorsal color olive greenish-brown or gray with yellowish-white belly. 35-55 narrow greenish-black bands exists which tapers to a point near the belly while they may in touch with each other on top. In few individuals bands on belly also visible and encircle the body. Few old individuals can be patternless grayish-brown.

Head -
Head large, blunt snouted and not broader than neck. Color blackish in juveniles, olive or grayish in adults; sometimes with yellow markings on the top.

Scalation
Head: 
7-8 supralabial, 2nd usually in contact with prefrontal, 3rd & 4th in contact with eyes; 1 preocular, 1 or 2 postocular, 2-3 anterior temporal, parietal broken into small scales.
Dorsal: 
Scales around the neck 23-31 (Male), 31-35 (Female); scales around the body 25-39 (Male), 33-43 (Female); of hexagonal or squarish scales, lowermost 3-4 rows larger with short central keel or tubercle.
Ventral: 
114-186 (Male), 141-230 (Female), distinct anteriorly and sometimes broken up or absent posteriorly.
Habitat: 
Found in coasts of south-east Asian countries. Habitat includes tropical shallow water of estuaries, bays and gulfs also close to coral reefs. Choose the depth of 4-40 meter but can be found up to 55 meter below surface.
Natural History: 
Swims well in shallow water of seas and estuaries. Locomotion slow and helpless on land but very active in underwater environment. Behavior alert and may become aggressive on threatening. Viviparous. Female directly gives birth to 2-6 young of 25-35cm during summer to mid monsoon months.
Diet: 
Feeds on variety of fishes, gastropods and crustaceans.
Threats: 
Direct threats are killing in various fishing operations. Few individuals get trapped in fishing nets and fisherman often kill them before taking them out of net. In many parts of its range it is exploited for skin and probably for edible use also.
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