A Listing of Australian True Sea Snakes and Sea Kraits

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Selection of Australian Frogs

TURTLES Tortoises Chelonii Testudines

DRAGON LIZARDS Agamas Agamidae

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MONITOR LIZARDS Goannas Varanids Varanidae

Skinks of Australia

CROCODILES Crocodylia Crocodilia Saltwater freshwater estuarine

Reptiles of the World

SERPENTES (SNAKES)
TRUE SEA SNAKES

Sea Snakes are often placed in their own family, however now many experts now consider them to be in the Elapid family

All true Sea Snakes and Sea Kraits have a paddle shaped tail

All Sea Snakes and Sea Kraits all have fangs at the front of their mouths and most are believed to have extremely potent venom, however bites to humans are rare and snakes in the Emydocephalus genus are not considered dangerous due to a highly degenerated venom system!


Family Elapidae
Subfamily Hydrophiinae (Sea Snakes)

(Previously Family Hydrophiidae)

 

TABLE 1 - TRUE SEA SNAKES
THESE SNAKES ARE LIVEBEARERS THAT SPEND THEIR ENTIRE LIFE IN WATER

 

* Indicates a new or recently updated page.

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Common Name

Scientific Name

Distribution

Horned Sea Snake

Acalyptophis peronii

NSW(?), NT, Qld, WA

Short-nosed Sea Snake 

Aipysurus apraefrontalis

WA

Reef Shallows or Dubois's Sea Snake

Aipysurus duboisii

NT, Qld, WA

Stagger-banded or Spine-tailed Sea Snake

Aipysurus eydouxii

NT, Qld, WA

Leaf-scaled Sea Snake

Aipysurus foliosquama

WA (Ashmore and Scott Reef)

Dusky Sea Snake

Aipysurus fuscus

WA (Ashmore and Scott Reef)

Golden or Olive Sea Snake

Aipysurus laevis

NSW(?), NT, Qld, WA

Mosaic Sea Snake

Aipysurus mosaicus

NT, Qld, WA

Shark Bay Sea Snake

Aipysurus pooleorum 

WA

Brown-lined Sea Snake

Aipysurus tenuis

WA

Stokes's Sea Snake

Astrotia stokesii

NSW, NT, Qld, WA

Olive-headed Sea Snake
or Greater Sea Snake

Hydrophis ( or Disteira) major

NSW(?), NT, Qld, WA

Turtle-headed Sea Snake (Harmless)

Emydocephalus annulatus

NT, Qld, WA (also around and some islands in the Pacific Ocean including the Philippines and the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia.

*Western Turtle-headed Sea Snake (Harmless)

Emydocephalus orarius

WA (Coral Coast, Pilbara and Kimberley regions)

Beaked Sea Snake

Enhydrina schistosa

Arabian/Persian Gulf (Oman, United Arab Emirates [UAE], Iran, etc.) south of the Seychelles
SE Asian Sea: Pakistan, India (Kerala, Gujarat), Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar , Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia (Borneo: incl. Sabah, Sarawak)
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland),
New Guinea

Zweifel's Sea Snake

Enhydrina zweifeli (provisional name) split from Enhydrina schistosa

NT, Qld, New Guinea

North-western Mangrove Sea Snake

Ephalophis greyae
(or greyi)

NT(?), WA

Black-ringed Mangrove Sea Snake

Hydrelaps darwiniensis

NT, Qld, WA

Black-headed Sea Snake

Hydrophis atriceps

NT, WA(?)

Belcher's Sea Snake

Emydocephalus orarius

NT(?), Qld(?)

Dwarf Sea Snake

Hydrophis caerulescens

Qld

Slender-necked Sea Snake

Hydrophis coggeri

WA

Spine-bellied Sea Snake

Hydrophis (was Lapemis) curtus

NT, Qld, WA through S.E. Asia to the Persian Gulf

Geometrical Sea Snake (includes snakes previously known as Fine-spined Sea Snakes)

Hydrophis (or Leioselasma) czeblukovi (synonym of Hydrophis geometricus )

WA

Belcher's Sea Snake
or Faint Banded Sea Snake

Hydrophis belcheri

Northern Waters away from the coast between Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea

Rough-scaled Sea Snake

Hydrophis donaldi

Qld

Elegant Sea Snake

Hydrophis elegans

NSW, NT, Qld, WA, SA

Slender Sea Snake

Hydrophis (or Microcephalophis) gracilis

Qld

Hardwicke’s Spine-bellied Sea Snake

Hydrophis (was Lapemis) hardwickii (was curtis hardwickii) STATUS UNCERTAIN - see Hydrophis curtus

NT, Qld, WA

Plain Sea Snake

Hydrophis (or Chitulia) inornatus

NT, WA(?)

Small-headed Sea Snake

Hydrophis mcdowelli

NT, Qld, WA

Slender-necked Seasnake

Hydrophis melanocephalus (or Leioselasma melanocephala)

NT(?), WA? Status in Australian waters is uncertain.

Black-banded Robust Sea Snake

Hydrophis (or Mediohydrophis) melanosoma

NT(?), Qld, WA(?)

Ocellated Sea Snake (obsolete see Ornate Reef Seasnake)

Hydrophis ocellatus (obsolete - now called Hydrophis ornatus)

NSW, NT, Tas, Qld, WA

Ornate Reef Seasnake

Hydrophis ornatus (was called Hydrophis ocellatus)

NSW, NT, Tas, Qld, WA

Large-headed Sea Snake

Hydrophis pacificus

NT, Qld

Common Yellow-bellied Sea Snake

Hydrophis (was Pelamis) platurus platurus

NSW, NT, Qld, Tas, Vic, WA, CKI, CI, NI, LHI, SA?

Estuarine Sea Snake

Hydrophis vorisi

Qld (Torres Strait)

Northern Mangrove Sea Snake

Parahydrophis mertoni

NT, Qld

 

SEA KRAITS

Sea Kraits are often been placed in their own families, however now many experts consider them to be in the Elapid family

Family Elapidae
Subfamily Hydrophiinae (Sea Snakes)


(Previously Family Laticaudidae)

TABLE 2 - SEA KRAITS
THESE SNAKES ARE EGGLAYERS THAT LAY THEIR EGGS ON LAND

Scientific Name

Common Name

Distribution

Wide-faced or Yellow Lipped Sea Krait

Laticauda colubrina

NSW?, Qld, CKI
may possibly occassionally wander into NSW waters

Large Scaled Sea Krait

Laticauda laticaudata

NSW, Qld may possibly occassionally wander into NSW waters

DISTRIBUTION KEY
Click on the abbreviation below to see a map of the area

CKI = Cocos (Keeling) Island

NSW = New South Wales

Qld = Queensland

Tas = Tasmania

Vic = Victoria

ACT = Australian Capital Territory
(Canberra region only - excludes Jervis Bay Territory)


Sea Snakes of Australia

MESA

Sea Snakes
School of Biomedical Sciences 


Australian Sea Snakes
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Contact John Fowler Author of the Australian Herpetology Website, Pythons of the World, BoaSnakes.info, PetGecko.info and Holiday in Kos - Owner of the Adelaide Reptile Forum

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Updated March 1, 2022


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