sea snake

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sea snake,

name for any of the venomous marine snakessnake,
common name for an elongated, limbless reptile of the order Squamata, which also includes the xlizards. Most snakes live on the ground, but some are burrowers, arboreal, or aquatic; one group is exclusively marine. In temperate climates they hibernate.
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 of the family Hydrophidae, found in tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. The sea snake's body is flattened laterally and its oarlike tail is used as a scull. A specialized lung and nostrils with valves enable it to remain submerged for periods of up to 8 hr. Most species are dark above and lighter below, or ringed with black and grayish green. They feed on small fish and are preyed upon by sea birds, sharks, and larger fish. Their potent venom quickly immobilizes their prey; however, they are not aggressive and rarely strike at humans when caught. Most sea snakes are completely marine and lack the enlarged ventral scales that enable land snakes to grip the ground. These snakes bear live young at sea. Most inhabit the shallow waters of the Indonesian region, but the common sea snake, Pelamis platurus, ranges from Madagascar E to Mexico and is sometimes found swarming by the thousands in open ocean. It is black or dark brown above and yellow below and grows up to 3 ft (90 cm) long. A few sea snake species leave the water to lay eggs on coral reefs. These snakes have ventral plates like those of land snakes. Sea snakes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Hydrophidae.