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Sight, touch and spatial memory are key ways sea snakes find their mates, says an Adelaide researcher.
On field trips to Hibernia Reef off the coast of Western Australia Jenna Crowe-Riddell, and colleagues from the University of Adelaide, filmed a male turtle-headed sea snake (Emydocephalus annulatus) courting a female underwater.
Snakes - Environment - Ocean - Cues - Smell
"We're interested in how sea snakes can find each other in such a vast environment like the ocean, where many sensory cues, such as smell and vision, are distorted," says Jenna.
Sea snakes are native inhabitants of Australian tropical waters and most, although not the turtle-headed sea snake, have a deadly venomous bite.
Sea - Snake - Spine - Tip - Snout
"A male turtle-headed sea snake has a specialised spine at the tip of his snout which he uses to probe the female along her back," says Jenna.
"We think this spine is used as tactile feedback for the male...
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