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Bio-bullets

The hidden power of sea snakes over eels

Snakes dared to reinvade the sea because retention of aerial respiration gives the reptiles venomous powers unrivalled by even the most snake-like of fishes.

professor caricatureProf. Mumblebard claims: “Eels are serpentine fishes, whereas sea snakes are reptiles returned to the water. Their coexistence is{njaccess 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8} simply the result of small-scale differentiation of niches, marine habitats being diverse enough to accommodate both lineages within the same functional guild. The result is various nuances within the category of a serpentine life form in the sea."{!njaccess}… See the hidden half of Prof. Mumblebard’s claim by subscribing here {/njaccess}

logoRobin and the Honey Badger respond: “Despite the superficial similarities in body size and shape of sea snakes and eels, their niches are distinct, with the multidimensional differences between these animals outweighing their two-dimensional similarities. The usual differences between reptiles and fishes don’t explain their extreme reproductive divergence: sea snakes produce a few advanced offspring whereas eels produce many small larvae bearing no resemblance to adult eels. Equally unexpected is that the ~60 species of sea snakes perform ecological functions – such as the eating of eels – that are rare or undocumented across the ~800 eel species. This is because{njaccess 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8} of basic differences in metabolic power. A prime example is that sea snakes, powered by aerial oxygen, can afford to produce venom strong enough to prevent eels – after being swallowed whole – slithering back out of their long stomachs."

speaker icon"In other words"

{!njaccess}… Reveal the hidden half of this response by Robin and the Honey Badger by subscribing here{/njaccess}

Please join us here at the Bio-edge with your own comments. In the discussion below we encourage links to any evidence supporting either Prof. Mumblebard or Robin and the Honey Badger. Illustrations are welcome but please cite all sources or we may be forced under copyright to delete your comment.

 

The hidden power of sea snakes over eels

Last modified on 22 June 2015

Comments   

+1 #1 Gargantuan 2014-02-11 15:24
Who do you think would come out top? This serpentine creature…


or this serpentine creature…

One certainly looks more ferocious to my mind. But looks are of course deceiving.
+1 #2 Johns 2014-03-06 13:10
Comparing eels and sea snakes, it’s interesting how radically different they are in reproduction. Come to think of it, could hardly be more different. I’m still thinking about that...
+1 #3 Naturapper 2014-03-06 14:06
@Gargantuan. This large eel doesn’t look as if it has much chance of slithering back out of the sea snake’s long stomach. I got the shivers watching this… nature in the raw. Ironic too, in a way, because morays normally look so capable of looking after themselves in the sea:
www.youtube.com/.../

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