[Coral-List] Comparing diving destinations (SEA SNAKES)

Mebrahtu Ateweberhan mateweberhan at wcs.org
Thu Mar 29 09:08:01 EDT 2012

Dear Kevin,

It is interesting that sea snakes need freshwater to survive.

There are no sea snakes reported in the Red Sea and the reason given is
that the upwelling in the Arabian Sea creates a barrier between the Red Sea
and the rest of the Indian Ocean.

If it is true that freshwater is a requirement for sea snake survival, it
is very plausible that aridity is the main reason for the Red Sea - Indian
Ocean biogeographic barrier. The Red Sea is surrounded by arid land on both
sides and virtually there is no freshwater influx. The Arabian Sea
upwelling seems very seasonal to fully explain the phenomenon.


On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 3:28 AM, Keven Reed <reedkc at comcast.net> wrote:

> Hello again, Bastiaan,
>    Not surprised you seldom hear 'free divers' called sea snakes and sea
> kraits given much consideration on the bulletin board devoted to coral
> polyp research and coral reef ecology, NOAA's coral-list.
>    One, there are no sea snakes to encounter in the wild in the Caribbean
> and Atlantic oceans.
>    Two, I've dove with people who would rather encounter sharks than
> snakes underwater for some unknown reason.
>    Three, these underwater marine reptiles seem to be infrequently
> encountered on many coral reefs.  In Hawaii, for example, there is only one
> species that occasionally a fisherman nets: a yellow-bellied pelagic sea
> snake passing by in open water.  By the way the yellow-bellied pelagic sea
> snake in most texts for years was under the nomenclature, Pelamis platurus
> Stoliczka.  However, it was renamed (corrected) in 2003 in the scientific
> literature to Pelamis platura (Linnaeus, 1766), or Pelamis platura Bohme,
> 2003.
>    FYI, there was a stimulating sea snake symposium with prominent
> researchers, past & present, at the annual meeting of the 2012 Society for
> Integrative and Comparative Biology held the first week of this year in
> Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
>    Harvey Lillywhite at U. of Florida, Gainesville has recently done
> research demonstrating a paradigm shift:  apparently sea snakes do not
> drink seawater as previously thought--rather they seek out freshwater
> lenses.  Enjoy the following link in Science Daily:
> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081106153629.htm
>    It's now believed even the pelagic Pelamis will die in sea water from
> dehydration after approximately three months if there is no rainfall on the
> sea's surface.
>    Also, in our Coral Reefs journal (from ISRS) last year, Francois
> Brischoux et al. published about trophic relationships between fish and sea
> snakes on the coral reefs of New Caledonia.  See Coral Reefs (2011)
> 30:155-165.
>    Additionally, there have been a couple "Reef sites" in Coral Reefs
> journal in recent years:  Highly venomous sea kraits must fight to get
> their prey.  Coral Reefs (2010) 29:379
>  and
> A sea snake wearing green velvet.  Coral Reefs (2005) 24: 403
>    I used to insure we had antivenin (antivenom) for elapids/sea snakes in
> our pharmacy in southwestern Japan.  We purchased it from CSL  Australia.
>  We never had to administer it during the eight years I lived in Okinawa,
> despite frequent encounters with sea snakes underwater there.
>    Ming-Chung Tu is a senior sea snake biologist out of Taiwan, FYI.
>    Hope this helps,
> Keven
> Dr. Keven C. Reed
> Fleming Island, FL 32003
> 904-505-7277  mobile
> 904-264-1206  office
>  ----- Original Message -----
>  From: Bastiaan Vermonden
>  To: Keven Reed
>  Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 4:05 PM
>  Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Comparing diving destinations
>  Hi Keven,
>  I haven't really looked to much at reef.org it but it is definitely very
> interesting. When I have time I will delve into it more. It is also very
> nice to hear that this research helped popularize an area, a good example
> that it is possible to change consumer behavior. Therefore this might be a
> useful example for me when I try to convince people of the validity of my
> project.
>  Also some questions about seasnakes. I can't remember any mention of them
> in any of the coral reef research literature that I read. Are seasnakes
> under represented in research or is it just that I haven't been looking?
> And secondly are seasnakes threatened by human activities or are they
> generally left alone?
>  Thanks for the tips I really appreciate it!
>  Bastiaan
>  On 28 March 2012 20:53, Keven Reed <reedkc at comcast.net> wrote:
>    Bastiaan,
>    Reef.org conservation organization has popularized the Blue Heron
> Bridge dive at Riviera Beach, FL for cryptic seahorses among other muck
> diving fishes, FYI.  Have you checked the fish surveys posted in the Reef
> data base?
>    Unfortunately these surveys don't usually include the invertebrates or
> the sea snakes (vertebrates) I like.......
>    Keven
>      ----- Original Message -----
>      From: Bastiaan Vermonden
>      To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>      Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 4:20 AM
>      Subject: [Coral-List] Comparing diving destinations
>      Dear coral listers,
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><((((º> ><((((º> ><((((º> ><((((º>

Mebrahtu Ateweberhan, PhD
Biological Sciences
University of Warwick
CV4 7AL, Coventry
United Kingdom

Tel: +442476575860 (office); +447943295412 (mobile); Fax: +442476524619
e-mail: mateweberhan at wcs.org; m.ateweberhan at warwick.ac.uk

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