Rare Sea snakes thought to be extinct found courting off coast of Western Australia

Rare Sea snakes thought to be extinct found courting off coast of Western Australia

Researchers were stunned to see supposedly extinct Australian short nosed sea snakes off the coast of Western Australia. The researchers from James Cook University saw a pair of sea snakes while they were courting.

Snakes from this species have been spotted after more than 15 years. In 2010, Australian short nosed sea snake was listed as Critically Endangered. But later, aquatic creatures became disappeared and were not seen in their natural habitats at Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea between 1998 and 2002. Their non-presence led researchers think that the species has been wiped out completely. But the latest sighting has given birth to hope among scientists that they are still present.

A couple of photos of the snakes were sent to ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and then it was confirmed that the sighted snakes are Australian short nosed sea snakes.

When these snakes were spotted they were courting indicated that they are members of breeding populations. The researchers said that this species of snake is marine hydrophinnes, meaning they are true sea snakes and live in water, are predator and give live-birth to offspring.

Study’s lead researcher Blanche D’Anastasi said that they have got one more chance to protect two endemic Western Australian sea snake species.” But in order to succeed in protecting them, we will need to monitor populations as well as undertake research into understanding their biology and the threats they face”.

Dr Vimoksalehi Lukoschek from the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies said that this species of snake is vulnerable to trawling. But their disappearance from their natural habitat can be blamed on trawling and remains unexplained.

Lukoschek was of the view that there is a need to find out threats faced by the species, so they can come up with effective conservation strategies.

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