This snake is small and yellow. It regularly feeds on small fish at night. Its way of hunting is unique: it usually hangs upside down from a tree to catch their prey. Assuming a wave-like posture, it points down its head and opens the mouth when it’s about to attack.

According to a report in 2011, this species is all geographically spread along the Costa Rican Eastern Pacific coast. There are two subspecies of sea snakes residing in Golfo Dulce: Hydrophis platurus, which is the snake with yellow circles on its belly and Hydrophis platurus that has a black belly and lives in more turbulent waters.

The new snake subspecies is called Hydrophis platurus xanthos and it was described by researchers who work for the Phoenix Zoo and Northwestern University. The snake has its hunting modi operandi: it adopts a sinusoidal shape, points its head downwards and opens its mouth to get the fish.

This is the ambush-posture used by the yellow sea snake for hunting.

sea snake

The new snake subspecies is much smaller and with a uniformly yellow skin full of contrasts of yellow and black lines with spots on the back in some cases. Apart from these features, this snake lives in a hostile environment. It resides in the gulf waters (Golfo Dulce) that contain unstable oxygen which usually plummets to lower levels.

According to some studies, both species of snakes live in different environments, probably 22 kilometers far from each other. This proximity may be the strongest reason one of the two snakes has evolved and become a better night hunter over time. Aside from that, this recently discovered subspecies has a skin coloration that permits it to maintain its internal temperature.

This video shows a yellow sea snake returning to the ocean.

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