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Growth, sexual dimorphism, and population biology of the olive sea snake, Aipysurus laevis, on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia

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The olive sea snake, Aipysurus laevis (Lacépède) grows at a rate of 0.22-0.95 cm/month, with young animals growing faster than older ones. Males reach sexual maturity in their third year and females in their fourth or fifth year. There is sexual dimorphism in size, with females larger than males; at snout-vent lengths greater than 80 cm, females are heavier than males of equivalent length. Small snakes were uncommon. Apparent sexratio favours males in winter but moves toward equality or even a preponderance of females in summer, probably reflecting changes in reproductive behaviour. Numbers of snakes are approximately 0.70-0.86 snakes per metre of reef edge. Olive sea snakes live to about 15 years or older.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, The University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia; 2: Department of Zoology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7617, USA


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