Hydrophis platurus xanthos, or yellow sea snake, is separated from its conspecifics by a gap of about 22 kilometers—restricted to the inner basin of Golfo Dulce where the waters are warmer, often turbulent, and occasionally anoxic. This extremely rare subspecies is characterized by smaller body size, canary-colored skin and distinctive behaviors. Most remarkably, it feeds at night, assuming a peculiar sinusoidal ambush posture (Bessesen & Galbreath 2017).

Peer Reviewed

Bessesen BL, GJ Galbreath. 2017. A new subspecies of sea snake, Hydrophis platurus xanthos, from Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. ZooKeys 686: 109–123. [link]

Bessesen, B. L. 2012. Geospatial and behavioral observations of a unique xanthic colony of pelagic sea snakes, Pelamis platurus, residing in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Herpetological Review 43:22–26. [link]

Kropach, C. 1975. The yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelamis, in the Eastern Pacific. In W. Dunson (ed.), The Biology of Sea Snakes, pp. 185–213.University Park Press, Maryland. [no link available]

Lillywhite, H.B., C.M. Sheeny III, F. Brischoux, and J.B. Pfaller. 2015. On the Abundance of a Pelagic Sea Snake. Journal of Herpetology 49(2):184-189. 2015 [link]

Lomote, B., D. Pla, M. Sasa, W-C. Tsai, A. Solórzano, J. M Ureña-Díaz, M.L. Fernández-Montes, D. Mora Obando, L. Sanz. 2014. Two color morphs of the pelagic yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelamis platura, from different locations of Costa Rica: Snake venomics, toxicity, and neutralization by antivenom. Journal of Proteomics 103: 137-152 [link]

Sheehy III, C.M., A. Solórzano, J.B. Pfaller, and H.B. Lillywhite. 2012. Preliminary Insights into the Phylogeography of the Yellow-bellied Sea Snake, Pelamis platurus. Integrative and Comparative Biology 52:321–330. [link]

Solórzano, A. 2011. Variación de color de la serpiente marina Pelamis platura (Serpentes: Elapidae) en el Golfo Dulce, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Cuadernos de Investigación UNED 3:15–22. [link]

Solórzano, A. 2004. Snakes of Costa Rica. Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, INBio, San Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 792 pp. [link]

Other Links

Golfo Dulce da vida a nueva serpiente marina. La Nación 2017. [link]

Serpiente venenosa atrae las miradas por su piel amarilla. La Nación 2013. [link]