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Short-nosed sea snake rediscovered after nearly 25 years

Australian scientists have made a wonderful discovery during a research expedition! They encountered a live individual belonging to the species of the extremely venomous sea snake Aipysurus apraefrontalis. The animal had been considered locally extinct for almost a quarter of a century. A short-nosed sea snake has been discovered by an interdisciplinary research team near
Published: April 22, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:24
Short-nosed sea snake rediscovered after nearly 25 years

Australian scientists have made a wonderful discovery during a research expedition! They encountered a live individual belonging to the species of the extremely venomous sea snake Aipysurus apraefrontalis. The animal had been considered locally extinct for almost a quarter of a century.

A short-nosed sea snake has been discovered by an interdisciplinary research team near Ashmore and Cartier Islands. Until now, the species was thought to be locally extinct, as not a single individual had been observed here for the past 23 years.

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The short-nosed sea serpent was thought to have disappeared forever from the waters around Ashmore and Cartier Islands. Therefore, this is a truly remarkable discovery. The research vessel full of serious scientists was literally squealing with excitement. said expedition leader Dr Karen Miller of the Australian Institute of Marine Science

Short-bodied sea snake Aipysurus apraefrontalis
Short-beaked sea snake discovered at a depth of 67 metres photo by Conor Ashleigh/ Schmidt Ocean Institute
Unusual meeting

A live short-nosed sea snake has been found at a depth of 67 metres. The discovery was made last week by a scientific team led by Dr Karen Miller of AIMS, along with researchers from the Western Australian Museum, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia.

The expedition was conducted using the magnificent research vessel R/V Falkor. The vessel, which belongs to the Schmidt Ocean Institute, is fantastically suited to exploring the ocean depths. The vessel is equipped with very advanced research equipment and a robot that allows deep-sea exploration.

No one has seen the species of the extremely venomous snake Aipysurus apraefrontalis in the area since 1998. Its rediscovery means that we have been given a second chance to better understand and protect this species.

the venomous sea snake Aipysurus apraefrontalis
The venomous Aipysurus apraefrontalis is just one of many sought-after species photo Conor Ashleigh/ Schmidt Ocean Institute

We cannot protect species that we do not know exist. That is why this expedition is so important. We are at depths that no one has explored before and we are gaining crucial knowledge as we uncover the deep-sea secrets of the surrounding waters. added Dr Miller

Species sought

Worth noting, this short-nosed sea snake is one of four species of sea snakes rediscovered during the expedition. Although there are still 13 other species on the list that were thought to be extinct. All of them were once found in the waters near Ashmore and Cartier Island.

It turns out that the surrounding reef was once the most biodiverse place for sea snakes. Unfortunately, over the past decades, more species have disappeared in unexplained circumstances from the shallow waters around the island.

This discovery shows that we can still learn more about the twilight zone. By studying it we hope to find more of the lost species of Ashmore sea snakes. Said Dr Nerida Wilson of the Western Australian Museum, who participated in the expedition

It should be mentioned that the Schmidt Ocean Institute is live streaming all his explorations on YouTube and Facebook. Considering the results of past expeditions, such as discovery of a reef higher than the Empire State BuldingIt’s certainly worth sitting in front of a screen and following the ROV images with the scientists.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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