Sea Snakes Observed Coping with Pollution with Melanin

The Turtle-Headed Sea Snake of the Genus Emydocephalus is part of subfamily Hydrophiinae, more commonly known as sea snakes, which contains 62 snakes characterized by paddle-like tails, an aversion to land, and in many cases highly toxic venom. This particular species live in the waters off of Oceania where it feeds mainly on fish eggs. This highly selective diet is not what makes the turtle-headed sea snake interesting, however, it does make clear why the species is also known as the egg-eating sea snake, what does it a method that the species has when dealing with pollution in its watery environment.  Normally it has been observed the turtle-headed sea snake has a white or yellow body with dark rings but a new study concerning pollution which has been published in the journal Current Biology, authored by Claire Goiran, Paco Bustamante, and Richard Shine sheds light on why some snakes of the same species are darker than others.

What they found is that it appears that the snakes abandon their non-dark pigment and then when their melanin rich scales soak up the unsavory pollutants in the water, they shed their skin to be rid of the contaminants and that darker snakes (i.e. more melanin) are found in waters near heavier urban activity.  Over the course of their research, the scientists compared snake skins from snakes found in more industrialized waters (near military bases for example) to snake skins from snakes in less industrial areas. In their findings, they said that in addition to more melanin in the skins of snakes from urbanized areas of water that regardless of locale, the snakes with more dark in their skin trapped more pollutants to shed out than their lighter counterparts. Industrial melanism is not a new phenomenon however as moths were observed in the infancy of the industrial revolution as getting darker because of pollutants and using that to shed more of the unsavory chemicals, such as certain zinc compounds, out of their bodies.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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