Pelamis platura (Pelagic sea snake or Yellow-bellied sea
Swart-en-geel seeslang [Afrikaans]
(animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia >
Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) >
Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) >
(four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota >
Reptilia (reptiles) >
Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria >
Squamata > Serpentes
(snakes) > Family: Elapidae
Can be identified by the following, the top of its body is
uniformly black and the bottom half is yellow or brown, a paddle like tail with
yellow and black markings and lack of mobility on land. This snake has an average
length of 60 cm but may reach 1meter.
Distribution and habitat
This snake species is the most widely distributed sea snake
in the world, it is found throughout both the Indian and Pacific oceans. It
spends all its life at sea and is only encountered on land when sick or injured.
This snake feeds on fish and eels.
Predators, parasites and disease
Viviparous (give birth to live young), normally giving
birth to between 2 and 8 young, it is also the only sea snake that doesn't raise
its young on land.
This sea snake has a potentially lethal neurotoxic venom
for which no antivenom is available locally. The reason for this is that there
is a very low possibility of being bitten because this snake is hardly ever
Broadley, D.G. 1983. FitzSimons' Snakes of Southern
Africa. Delta Books, Johannesburg.
Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa.
Struik Publishing, Cape Town.