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Feeding and reproductive behavior of captive sea snakes Hydrophis cyanocinctus

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The annulated sea snake (Hydrophis cyanocinctus) is a black and yellow banded neurotoxic hydrophiid, widely distributed along the Indian coast. Observations on the feeding and reproductive behavior of the snake were made for the first time in captivity. It consumed live or chopped fish; prey size depended on snake size. Breeding commenced in October and the matured neonates were observed during the following January. Twenty five gravid snakes gave birth to 87 neonates, i.e. 3-5 neonates per snake. During delivery, they exhibited a different type of movement to release the neonates, and all were delivered only at night. All neonates were measured the morphological traits of weight, snout-vent length, tail length, head length, head width, neck girth and body girth. The relative size of females and males differed significantly. But the relative size of tail length showed an opposite trend compared to other morphological traits. At the end of the experiment, the snakes and neonates were released in the open sea.

Affiliations: 1: Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Annamalai University, Parangipettai 608 502, Tamil Nadu, India


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