This unique marine reptile is endemic to Golfo Dulce. Geographically isolated from its closest relative (the pelagic sea snake, Hydrophis platurus), H. p. xanthos has adapted to the conditions of the inner basin. It is characterized by small body size, canary-colored skin, a divergent ecology, and distinctive behaviors.

Peer Reviewed

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]

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

Bessesen, B.L., C. Garrido-Cayul, and M. González-Suárez. 2023. Habitat suitability and area of occupancy defined for rare New World sea snake. Conservation Science and Practice 5(1): e12865. [link]

Bessesen, B.L. and M. González-Suárez. 2022. Safe from sunburn: The divergent diel pattern of a Hydrophis sea snake. Ecology and Evolution 12(1): e8436. [link]

Bessesen, B.L., M. González-Suárez, D. Herra-Miranda, and L. Oviedo. 2021. Hydrophis platurus xanthos (Golfo Dulce Yellow Seasnake): Harassment by dolphins. Herpetological Review 52(2): 425-426. [link]

Bessesen, B.L., C.S. Oedekoven, G.J. Galbreath, and M. González-Suárez. 2022. Population abundance and density estimates for Costa Rica's endemic sea snake, Hydrophis platurus xanthos. Frontiers in Marine Science 9: 924966. [link]

Kropach C. 1971. Another color variety of the sea‐snake Pelamis platurus from Panama Bay. Herpetologica 27(3): 326–327. [link]

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. [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]

Scientific Theses, Reports & Posters

Bessesen, B.L. 2022. The unique ecology of an endemic sea snake Hydrophis platurus xanthos. PhD thesis, University of Reading, UK. 169 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]