Published on 31 March 2002
Sea snakes thrive throughout the lagoons and on some islets in New Caledonia—so they are an innate part of the fabric and folklore of this region. Despite this pervasive presence, scientists, as well as amateur and recognized naturalists know very little about this fascinating group of reptiles, chiefly because they are evasive and hard to monitor in their natural habitats. This book provides answers to many questions concerning their systematics, biology, lifestyle and behavior: What biotopes do they inhabit? How have they adapted specifically to the salt water environment? What do they eat? How can different species be accurately identified? What are the most dangerous species, and what should be done when bitten? The authors, Ivan Ineich and Pierre Laboute, first review the evolutionary history of the group and highlight its systematic position relative to other snakes, followed by a detailed description of each of the 14 sea snake species of New Caledonia. The last part focuses on bites of sea snakes, whose venom is amongst the most toxic in the animal kingdom. This bilingual volume is attractively illustrated with almost 140 unique undersea and onshore photographs and is the first informative reference source on the sea snakes of New Caledonia. It should satisfy the needs of a broad spectrum of inquisitive readers—scientists, naturalists, recreational swimmers, expert divers, etc—wishing to know more about the fauna of the South Pacific region.