Pelamis platura   (Linnaeus,  1766) (Marine Snake)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Reptilia

Image copyright: pbase

Size: The maximum length of this sea snake is 113 cm.

Habitat: These snakes are restricted to tropical and subtropical waters. They are usually found within a few kilometers of the coast and prefer shallow inshore waters. Normally these snakes live in waters with temperatures between 11.7 and 36 degrees Celsius.

Reproduction: This snake reproduces sexually in water, usually near the surface. It breeds in water with a temperature greater than 20 degrees Celsius. This species is ovoviviparous, and gestation is thought to be 5 to 6 months. One to 10 young are born per litter, each 220-260 mm long at birth. Adult males grow to greater than 600 mm.

Lifespan / Longevity: In captivity 2.1 years.

Behavior: These snakes feed during the day and spend nights on the ocean bottom, occassionally rising to the surface to breath. They can dive to maximum depths of 6.8 m in the dry season, and 15.1 m during the wet season. Sea snakes can stay underwater between 1.5 and 3.5 hours. They are capable of cutaneous breathing, removing oxygen from the water and releasing carbon dioxide. The yellow-bellied sea snake has a salt gland under its tongue, which secretes salt taken in from the water. It swims on the surface by sideward undulations aided by the laterally compressed tail, which acts as a paddle.

Synonym (s)
Pelamis platurus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Common Name (s)
• Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (English)
• Pelagic Sea Snake (English)
• Black& Yellow Sea Snake
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(There are no known major threats to this species. Minor threats may include bycatch in squid fisheries, ghost fishing nets, and pollution, including oil spills.)

Habitat:  Open Sea, Coastal
Prey:  Carnivorous, Fish
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Tamil Nadu, Parangipettai (Lat: 11.83) (Long: 79.80) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web 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 -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) 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 -
  • PBase Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-11-09

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