Black-banded sea krait

The black-banded sea krait, or Chinese sea snake (Laticauda semifasciata), known in Japan as erabu umi hebi (ja:エラブウミヘビ), and Okinawa as the irabu, is a member of the Laticauda genus of sea snakes. It is found in most of the warm wāters of the western Pacific Ocean.

This high snake frequents coral reef areas. It has a short head, thick trunk, and no easily discernible neck. The tail is simply extended skin, spread wide like a fin, and unsupported by any projection. Only 1 out of 3 will produce fangs. The stomach is comparatively wide. Massing together near the shore, they breed between narrow cracks in the reef and in caves. It is a nocturnal snake, rarely seen during the day. It breathes air, so breaks the surface at least once every six hours.

It is too slow to catch fish in a straight chase, so it hunts for fish hiding in the coral. Alternately, gathering in the hundreds, black-banded sea kraits form hunting alliances with yellow goatfish and bluefin trevally, flushing potential prey from narrow crannies in a reef the same way some moray eels do.[2][3] The bite is highly venomous and paralyzes the prey. Females lay their eggs on land.

Generally, the species is found in Fiji, southern Japan and Singapore. Their venom is ten times stronger than that of a cobra, making them extremely dangerous. This snake does not bite humans unless it feels threatened.

The erabu snake is a winter staple in southern Japan, where it is believed to replenish a female's womanhood. Irabu soup irabu-jiru (ja:イラブー汁)[4] is said to taste like miso and a bit like tuna. This soup was a part of the royal court cuisine of Ryukyu Kingdom; it is thought to have analeptic properties.

Black banded sea krait
Laticauda semifasciata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Laticauda
L. semifasciata
Binomial name
Laticauda semifasciata
(Reinwardt in Schlegel, 1837)

Platurus semifasciatus Reinwardt in Schlegel, 1837
Pseudolaticauda semifasciata (Reinwardt in Schlegel, 1837)

Life history

Male and female snakes reach sexual maturity at snout-vent lengths of 70 and 80 cm, respectively. Females lay 3–7 eggs that hatch after 4–5 months.[5] It can reach 170 cm in total length.[6]


  1. ^ Lane, A. & Gatus, J. (2010). "Laticauda semifasciata". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2010: e.T176721A7290432. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T176721A7290432.en.
  2. ^ "Black-banded sea krait photo - Laticauda semifasciata - G78940". Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2015-08-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Okinawa Gourmet Guide : Sea snake soup (Irabu-jiru) | Website of Okinawa Sightseeing information Okinawa2Go!". Archived from the original on 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  5. ^ Tu, M. C.; M. C. Tu; S. C. Fong & K. Y. Lue (1990). "Reproductive biology of the sea snake, Laticauda semifasciata, in Taiwan". Journal of Herpetology. 24 (2): 119–126. doi:10.2307/1564218. JSTOR 1564218.
  6. ^ Hans Breuer & William Christopher Murphy (2009–2010). "Pseudolaticauda semifasciata". Retrieved 7 October 2012.

Further reading

  • Schlegel, Hermann (1837). Essai sur la Physionomie des Serpens, Volume 1. Amsterdam: Schonekat. p. 516.

Latisemin is a cysteine-rich secretory protein that can be isolated from the venom of the Black-banded sea krait, a sea snake indigenous to the warmer waters of the western Pacific Ocean. It is a toxin that inhibits cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels and blocks L-type calcium channels, thereby reducing smooth muscle contraction.

List of dangerous snakes

Of the 3,500 snake species, there are around 600 venomous snake species in the world. This is an overview of the snakes that pose a significant health risk to humans, through snakebites or other physical trauma.

The varieties of snakes that most often cause serious snakebites depend on the region of the world. In Africa, the most dangerous species include black mambas, puff adders, and carpet vipers. In the Middle East the species of greatest concern are carpet vipers and elapids; in Central and South America, Bothrops (including the terciopelo or fer-de-lance) and Crotalus (rattlesnakes) are of greatest concern. In South Asia, it has historically been believed that Indian cobras, common kraits, Russell's viper and carpet vipers were the most dangerous species; however other snakes may also cause significant problems in this area of the world. While several species of snakes may cause more bodily destruction than others, any of these venomous snakes are still very capable of causing human fatalities should a bite go untreated, regardless of their venom capabilities or behavioral tendencies.

List of near threatened reptiles

As of September 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists 329 near threatened reptile species. 6.4% of all evaluated reptile species are listed as near threatened.

The IUCN also lists two reptile subspecies as near threatened.

Of the subpopulations of reptiles evaluated by the IUCN, two species subpopulations have been assessed as near threatened.

This is a complete list of near threatened reptile species and subspecies evaluated by the IUCN. Species and subspecies which have near threatened subpopulations (or stocks) are indicated.

List of reptiles of China

China has around 403 different species of reptiles that can be found in many environments including deserts, grasslands, rivers, and forests. It is the country with the seventh largest amount of different reptile species.

List of reptiles of Thailand

The following is a list of reptiles of Thailand. There are more than 400 species recorded.

Sea krait

Sea kraits are a genus of venomous elapid sea snakes, Laticauda. They are semiaquatic, and retain the wide ventral scales typical of terrestrial snakes for moving on land, but also have paddle-shaped tails for swimming. Sea kraits are often confused with another group of aquatic reptiles, the sea snakes. However, unlike the fully aquatic ovoviviparous sea snakes, sea kraits are oviparous and must come to land to digest prey and lay eggs. They also have independent evolutionary origins into aquatic habitats, with sea kraits diverging earlier from other Australasian elapids. Thus, sea kraits and sea snakes are an example of convergent evolution into aquatic habitats within the Hydrophiinae snakes. Sea kraits are also often confused with land kraits (genus Bungarus), which are not aquatic.

Ten Deadliest Snakes with Nigel Marven

Ten Deadliest Snakes with Nigel Marven is a wildlife series that began airing on Eden Channel in 2013. Seasons 1 and 2 were also broadcast on Animal Planet Europe, while season 3 was premiered on Nat Geo Wild UK and later screened on Nat Geo Wild Europe & Africa in 2017. It is presented by Nigel Marven, who travels around the world and in each hour-long episode he counts down his list of ten deadliest snakes in each different country or continent. The series is produced by Image Impact.

Venomous snake

Venomous snakes are species of the suborder Serpentes that are capable of producing venom, which they use for killing prey, for defense, and to assist with digestion of their prey. The venom is typically delivered by injection using hollow or grooved fangs, although some venomous snakes lack well-developed fangs. Common venomous snakes include the families Elapidae, Viperidae, Atractaspididae, and some of the Colubridae. The toxicity of venom is mainly indicated by murine LD50, while multiple factors are considered to judge the potential danger to humans. Other important factors for risk assessment include the likelihood that a snake will bite, the quantity of venom delivered with the bite, the efficiency of the delivery mechanism, and the location of a bite on the body of the victim. Snake venom may have both neurotoxic and hemotoxic properties.

Wildlife of Japan

The wildlife of Japan includes its flora, fauna and natural habitats. The islands of Japan stretch a long distance from north to south and cover a wide range of climatic zones. This results in a high diversity of wildlife despite Japan's isolation from the mainland of Asia. In the north of the country, north of Blakiston's Line, there are many subarctic species which have colonized Japan from the north. In the south there are south-east Asian species, typical of tropical regions. Between these areas lies the temperate zone which shares many species with China and Korea. Japan also has many endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world.

Yellow-lipped sea krait

The yellow-lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina), also known as the banded sea krait, colubrine sea krait, is a species of venomous sea snake found in tropical Indo-Pacific oceanic waters. The snake has distinctive black stripes and a yellow snout, with a paddle-like tail for use in swimming.

It spends much of its time underwater in order for it to hunt, but returns to land to digest, rest, and reproduce. It has very potent neurotoxic venom which it uses to prey on eels and small fish. Because of their affinity to land, banded sea kraits often encounter humans, but the snakes are not aggressive and only attack when feeling threatened.


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