Marine snakes recently discovered in Golfo Dulce, in the South Pacific, astonished scientists due to its hunting posture.
The discovery of this subspecies was made official in May by researchers from the University of Costa Rica (UCR). It gave way to the yellow sea serpent identified as Hydrophis platurus xanthos.
Beyond their color and appearance, two American researchers highlighted the ‘unusual’ ambush posture they take when feeding on fish, especially at night time.
Its most extraordinary feature is exposed only at night, when snakes feed on small fish. They do it hanging upside down from the surface of the water, assuming a peculiar sinusoidal posture,”
said EurekAlert, referring to an analysis published in the journal ZooKeys.
The conclusion was made by Brooke Bessenen, from the Phoenix Zoo and Gary Galbreath from Northwestern University.
Unlike its related species, this species lives in a significantly more hostile environment: Gulf waters are warmer, often turbulent and dissolved oxygen falls to extremely low levels. The two territories of the snakes are separated by about 22 kilometers,”
cites the publication.
Therefore, this snake evolved to hunt at night and its light color influences its thermoregulation (automatic regulation of temperatue).
Given the list of well-defined traits, the new subspecies could eventually become a new species. As for the timing, the authors remain cautious until additional data is available.
In Costa Rica, researchers from the UCR who investigated the snake and discovered its behavior were Mahmood Sasa and Alejandro Solórzano.