Eel Burrowing Causes Comically Small Heads of Sea Snakes
A new research has highlighted that a few species of sea snake have developed "comically small" heads.
Mike Lee from the South Australian Museum said, “We noticed that the blue-banded sea snake (Hydrophis cyanocinctus) and the slender-necked sea snake (Hydrophis melanocephalus) were almost indistinguishable genetically, despite being drastically different in size and shape”.
The discovery has been made by a research team headed by zoologist Kate Sanders of the University of Adelaide. They found that some sea snakes need a larger skull to have huge spiny fish. Rest of the species of this class tends to rummage narrow sand eel burrows for food.
According to Lee, the slender-necked sea snake is half the size. It has a much smaller head than the blue-banded sea snake. This shows that they were linked in the past but have alienated recently.
The researchers have explained that this can only happen after the ancestral species started foraging the eel burrows and consequently stopped interbreeding with the large-headed forms.
It has been reported that the slender-necked sea snake has a much smaller head and is approximately half the size of the blue-banded sea snake. The reasons for the comic small heads of the species are still being deciphered by the scientists.
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