Black-banded sea kraits are highly venomous snakes that live and hunt in reefs using their bite to paralyse prey. Newly-hatched kraits eat sand smelts and sand perches, but as they grow they switch to other prey, such as surgeonfish and damselfish. They are slower swimmers than their prey, so tend to ambush fish amongst the coral rather than hunt them in a chase.
Scientific name: Laticauda semifasciata
Finding a safe, dry place to lay eggs is difficult for a sea snake.
The sea kraits of Nuie in the South Pacific have found an interesting place to lay their eggs. Avoiding beaches where their eggs might be eaten by predators, the females swim beneath the island to an underwater tunnel with that leads to an air pocket. Safe from predators they lay their eggs. Now all the babies need to do is find their way out...
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Black-banded sea krait distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
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 waters 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. 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 requires oxygen to breathe, 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. 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. Fortunately, 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) 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.
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