Skip to main content
Select Source:

sea snake

sea snake, name for any of the venomous marine snakes of the family Hydrophidae, found in tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. The sea snake's body is flattened laterally and its oarlike tail is used as a scull. A specialized lung and nostrils with valves enable it to remain submerged for periods of up to 8 hr. Most species are dark above and lighter below, or ringed with black and grayish green. They feed on small fish and are preyed upon by sea birds, sharks, and larger fish. Their potent venom quickly immobilizes their prey; however, they are not aggressive and rarely strike at humans when caught. Most sea snakes are completely marine and lack the enlarged ventral scales that enable land snakes to grip the ground. These snakes bear live young at sea. Most inhabit the shallow waters of the Indonesian region, but the common sea snake, Pelamis platurus, ranges from Madagascar E to Mexico and is sometimes found swarming by the thousands in open ocean. It is black or dark brown above and yellow below and grows up to 3 ft (90 cm) long. A few sea snake species leave the water to lay eggs on coral reefs. These snakes have ventral plates like those of land snakes. Sea snakes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Hydrophidae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sea snake." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sea snake." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sea-snake

"sea snake." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sea-snake

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Hydrophiidae

Hydrophiidae (sea snakes; order Squamata, suborder Serpentes) A family of marine descendants of the Elapidae, comprising venomous, front-fanged snakes that have valvular nostrils and salt-secreting glands in the head, long bodies (generally with small ventral scales), and laterally compressed tails. Most are ovoviviparous. They prey mainly on small fish. There are about 50 species, occurring in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hydrophiidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hydrophiidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hydrophiidae

"Hydrophiidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hydrophiidae

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

sea snakes

sea snakes See HYDROPHIIDAE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sea snakes." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sea snakes." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sea-snakes

"sea snakes." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sea-snakes

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.