Lapemis curtus   (Shaw,  1802) (Marine Snake)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Reptilia

Image copyrights: Gary Fry

Size: 118 cm SVL

L. curtus occurs in a wide range of tropical shallow-water habitats including gulfs, bays, and estuaries, over continental shelves and also over soft-sediments adjacent to coral reefs. It is associated with many soft-sediment types including sand, muddy sand, and mud. It sometimes ascends river, thus also occurs in freshwater habitats. L. curtus is a generalist feeder and its diet includes many species of benthic, demersal and pelagic fish, as well as squid and other crustaceans. This species typically occurs in depth ranges from 4 to 40 m but has been seen as deep as 55 m. Gravid females appear to congregate in sheltered areas such as bays and estuary mouths at particular times of the year  

Synonym (s)
Hydrophis hardwickii (Gray, 1834)
Hydrus curtus Shaw. 1802
Lapemis hardwickii Gray, 1834
Hypsirhina hardwickii (Gray, 1834)

Common Name (s)
• Shaw’s Sea Snake (English)
• Short Sea Snake (English)
• Spine-bellied Sea Snake (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Leather making)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Most commonly caught in trawl fisheries and directly harvested for commercial purpose.)

Habitat:  Reef Associated, Estuarine, Coastal
Prey:  Finfishes


• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Off Kerala Coast INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Parangipettai (Lat: 11.83) (Long: 79.80) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • Sealifebase Available at -
  • Palot, MJ and Radhakrishnan, C (2010) First record of yellow-bellied sea snake Pelamis platurus (Linnaeus, 1766) (Reptilia: Hydrophiidae) from a riverine tract in northern Kerala, India Journal of Threatened Taxa Wildlife Information Liaison Development Society 2(9) 1175-1176 Available at -
  • Damotharan, P; Arumugam, M; Vijayalakshmi, S and Balasubramanian, T (2010) Diversity, Biology and ecology of sea snakes (Hydrophiidae)distributed along the Parangipettai coast, southeast coast of India International journal of current research 4 62-69 Available at -
  • Padmanaban, P; Venkatraman, C; Palot, MJ and Radhakrishnan, C. A checklist of Sea Snakes (Reptilia) of India Zoological Survey of India Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-02-25

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