The behaviour of sea snakes (Emydocephalus annulatus) shifts with the tides

Claire Goiran, Gregory P. Brown, Richard Shine*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Tidal cycles are known to affect the ecology of many marine animals, but logistical obstacles have discouraged behavioural studies on sea snakes in the wild. Here, we analyse a large dataset (1,445 observations of 126 individuals) to explore tidally-driven shifts in the behaviour of free-ranging turtle-headed sea snakes (Emydocephalus annulatus, Hydrophiinae) in the Baie des Citrons, New Caledonia. Snakes tended to move into newly-inundated areas with the rising tide, and became more active (e.g. switched from inactivity to mate-searching and courting) as water levels rose. However, the relative use of alternative habitat types was largely unaffected by tidal phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11346
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020

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Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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