Aipysurus eydouxii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Elapidae

Scientific Name: Aipysurus eydouxii (Gray, 1849)
Common Name(s):
English Spine-tailed Sea Snake, Eydoux' Sea Snake, Marbled Sea Snake
French Aipysure d'Eydoux
Aipysurus margaritophorus Bleeker, 1858
Thalassophis anguillaeformis Schmidt, 1852
Thalassophis muraeneformis Schmidt, 1852
Tomogaster eydouxii Gray, 1849

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-15
Assessor(s): Guinea, M., Lukoschek, V., Milton, D., Courtney, T., Fletcher, E. & White, M.-D.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S.R., Elfes, C.T., Polidoro, B.A. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)
This species is widespread but patchily distributed. It is found in muddy turbid habitats. This species is captured in trawl fisheries, but this in not thought to be a major threat. The population status is unknown. This species is listed as Least Concern, however, it is recommended that bycatch be monitored and efforts made to reduce bycatch with exclusion devices.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species distribution ranges from the northern coast of Australia to the South China Sea and includes the Gulf of Thailand (Tu 1974), Indonesia, western Malaysia, Viet Nam, and Papua New Guinea (Minton 1975).
Countries occurrence:
Australia; Cambodia; China; Indonesia; Malaysia; New Caledonia; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Viet Nam
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):50
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species has a patchy distribution. There has been a regional population decline in the Shoalwater Bay area (Australia) from foot surveys (C. Limpus pers. comm. 2009).

This species was seasonally abundant as trawler bycatch in western Malaysia in 1989 (Stuebing and Voris 1990). This is also the case in the Gulf of Carpentaria (D. Milton pers. comm. 2009). Also captured in the eastern prawn trawl fisheries in Australia (makes up 2 % of the sea snake catch) (Courtney et al. 2010). In Madura Straits (East Java, Indonesia), this species comprised 14 out of 256 bycaught snakes collected over ten days in June 2010 (K. Sanders and Mumpuni pers. comms.).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is common in estuaries and shallow bays and is most commonly associated with mud substrata but may rarely be found over harder substrata (Limpus 1975). It may swim upstream in rivers (Limpus 1975). It occurs in turbid waters from 0-50 m. This species typically feeds on benthic fish eggs but has also been recorded taking an eel (Voris 1972). This is the smallest sea snake found in the prawn trawl fisheries on the northeastern coast of Australia (T. Courtney pers. comm. 2009).
Systems:Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is caught as bycatch by trawlers (Stuebing and Voris 1990).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place. No sea snake species is currently listed by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Sea snakes are protected in Australia since their addition to the ‘Listed Marine Species’ by the Department of Environment and Water Resources in 2000. They are protected in Australia under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999. This requires that all Australian industries interacting with protected species, directly or indirectly, demonstrate sustainability for the species impacted by their activities (Milton et al. 2008). The Australian Fisheries Management Act 1991 requires fishing efforts to avoid captures of threatened and protected species such as sea snakes.

A conservation recommendation is to reduce the number of individuals caught as bycatch in the prawn trawl fishery using appropriate exclusion devices within nets (Courtney et al. 2010).

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.5. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.6. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Muddy
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

Courtney, A. J., Schemel, B.C., Wallace, R., Campbell, M.J., Mayer D.G. and Young, B. 2010. Reducing the impact of Queensland's trawl fisheries on protected sea snakes. Fisheries Research and Development Coorporation (FRDC) Project #2005/053 Final Report.

Greer, A.E. 2006. Encyclopedia of Australian Reptiles. Available at:

Guinea, M.L. 2007. Marine Snakes: Species Profile for the North-western Planning Area. Report for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT.

Heatwole, H. 1975. Sea snakes of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In: W.A. Dunson (ed.), The Biology of Sea Snakes, pp. 145-149. University Park Press, Baltimore, Maryland.

Heatwole, H. 1999. Sea Snakes. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

Limpus, C.J. 1975. Coastal sea snakes of subtropical Queensland waters (23° to 28° south latitude). In: W.A. Dunson (ed.), The Biology of Sea Snakes, pp. 173-182. University Park Press, Baltimore, Maryland.

Marsh, H., Corkeron, P.J., Limpus, C.J., Shaughnessy, P.D. and Ward, T.M. 1993. Conserving marine mammals and reptiles in Australia and Oceania. In: C. Moritz and J. Kikkawa (eds), Conservation Biology in Australia and Oceania, pp. 225-244. Surrey, Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton.

Milton, D., Zhou, S., Fry, G. and Dell, Q. 2008. Risk assessment and mitigation for sea snakes caught in the Northern Prawn Fishery. Final report. CSIRO, Cleveland, Queensland.

Porter, R., Irwin, S., Irwin, T. and Rodrigues, K. 1997. Records of marine snakes species from the Hey-Embly and Mission Rivers, far north Queensland. Herpetofauna 27(2): 2-7.

Redfield, J.A., Holmes, J.C. and Holmes, R.D. 1978. Sea snakes of the eastern Gulf of Carpentatria. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 29(3): 325-334.

Stuebing, R. and Voris, H.K. 1990. Relative abundance of marine snakes on the west coast of Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Herpetology 24(2): 201-202.

Tu, A.T. 1974. Sea snake investigation in the Gulf of Thailand. Journal of Herpetology 8(3): 201-210.

Voris, H.K. 1972. The role of sea snakes (Hydrophiidae) in the trophic structure of coastal ocean communities. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India 14(2): 429-442.

Citation: Guinea, M., Lukoschek, V., Milton, D., Courtney, T., Fletcher, E. & White, M.-D. 2010. Aipysurus eydouxii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T176757A7298462. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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