| || || Shetty, Sohan.|
| || || Behavioural ecology of the yellow-lipped sea krait, Laticauda colubrina, in the Fiji Islands |
Institution: University of Sydney.
Subject: Sea kraits -- Behavior -- Fiji, Sea kraits -- Ecology -- Fiji
Call No.: pac QL 666 .0645 S46 2000
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: Yellow-lipped sea kraits (Laticcauda colubrina) are large (> 1.5 m body length, 1.5 kg) amphibious snakes widely distributed throughout the Pacific region. They forage in the ocean, but frequently return to land. I captured, measured and individually marked > 1,100 sea kraits between September 1998 and December 1999, on Mabualau and Toberua Islands (Fiji), Female sea kraits grow much larger than males, and the sexes differ in head sizes even at the same snout-vent length (females have longer, wider heads), The sex differences in mean adult body length and in relative head size probably reflect a combination of evolutionary processes involving fecundity selection, sexual selection and natural selection, Female sea kraits eat much larger prey items than do conspecific males (mostly conger eels) and usually contained only a single prey item when examined. In contrast, male sea kraits eat smaller prey items (mostly moray eels) and often contain multiple prey. The sex divergence in relative head sizes may be an adaptation to this sex difference in dietary habits. Interestingly, the prey taken by female sea kraits are larger relative to the snake's head length, as well as its snoutvent length, than is the case for prey items in males.