It appears as if the deadly beaked sea snake, found off the coast of Indonesia and Australia, might actually be two different types of snakes.
A new study shows that the extremely venomous Enhydrina schistosa has been incorrectly categorized into a single morphology because of its beaked nose and other similar characteristics. In fact, testing has now established that the Asian and Australian varieties of the snake have different genetic make-ups. Researchers at the University of Adelaide say this is a classic example of evolutionary convergence, the tendency of different species to develop common traits under the same environmental conditions.
Fortunately for surfers and swimmers, the same antivenom will work for both of the newly differentiated species.
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