The rarely seen sea snake has been found in the waters of the Western Gulf of Oman, more than 400 kilometers away from its historic range.
A rare species of venomous sea snake has been spotted off the coast of Iran. The snake, called Günther's sea snake, was thought to be confined to the coastal waters stretching across Myanmar to Pakistan but it is the first time the snake has been found outside its historic range, suggesting the venomous snake may not be as rare as was previously thought.
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Known for its relatively small head in comparison to its body, Günther's sea snake was first discovered in 1864 and was named after the discoverer Albert Günther, who was a German-born British zoologist.
A team of Iranian researchers was surveying the biodiversity of sea snakes in the waters off the Western Gulf of Oman when they spotted this rarely seen snake species. The snake has light brown or yellowish skin color and can grow up to 57 inches. There is no population information for the species. Therefore, it could not qualify for any category of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Highly venomous viviparous sea snakes are currently comprised of about 60 living species and they are widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of Indian Ocean. Out of them, only nine have also been found in Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman before. The latest discovery expands the number of sea snakes in the region to 10. The specimen has been taken to Zoological Museum at the Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran.
Researchers have published the details of all sea snake species found in Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, including the latest one, in journal ZooKeys.