Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Hardwicke's spine-bellied sea snake

Hydrophis hardwickii, John Edward Gray, 1834

The spine-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis hardwickii ), also commonly known as Hardwicke's sea snake and Hardwicke's spine-bellied sea snake, is a species of venomous elapid sea snake.


The specific name, hardwickii, is in honor of English naturalist Thomas Hardwicke.


  • Body short, stout, neck region not less than half as thick at midbody;
  • head large; scales squarish or hexagonal, juxtaposed, outer 3-4 rows larger than others, scale rows: males 23-31 around neck, females 27-35, around midbody, males 25-27, females 33-41;
  • ventrals small, usually distinct anteriorly, not so posteriorly, in males 114-186, in females 141-230; head shields entire, parietals occasionally divided;
  • nostrils superior, nasals in contact with one another;
  • prefrontal usually in contact with second upper labial;
  • 7-8 upper labials, 3-4 bordering eye; 1 pre- and 1-2 postoculars; 2, rarely 3, anterior temporals; greenish or yellow- olive above, whitish below, 35-50 olive to dark gray dorsal bars, tapering to a point laterally, occasionally encircling body, a narrow dark ventral stripe or broad irregular band occasionally present;
  • adults often lack any pattern and are uniform olive to dark gray;
  • head pale olive to black, yellow markings on snout present or not. Total length 860 mm (2' 4"), tail length 85 mm (3.3").

Geographic range

This species is located in warm waters:

  • Persian Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Iran)
  • Indian Ocean (Bangladesh, Burma, Pakistan ?, Sri Lanka, India)
  • South China Sea north to the coasts of Fujian and Shandong
  • Strait of Taiwan
  • Indoaustralian Archipelago
  • North coast of Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)
  • the Philippines (Panay etc.)
  • Pacific Ocean (Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, Papua New Guinea)

hardwickii: Burma, southeast coast of India and the Straits of Malacca, east to Australia and north to China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Hydrophis hardwickii

Common names

  • English: Hardwicke's spine-bellied sea snake


  • Hydrophis hardwickii, K. L. Sanders et al. (2012)
  • Lapemis hardwickii, John W. Ferner et al. (2001)
  • Labemis sic hardwickii, Wolfgang Grossmann & Frank Tillack (2001)
  • Lapemis hardwickii, Harold Cogger (2000)
  • Lapemis curtus hardwickii, Colin John McCarthy in Philippe Golay et al. (1993)
  • Lapemis hardwickii, Alice Georgie Cruickshank Grandison (1978)
  • Lapemis hardwickii, Malcolm Arthur Smith (1943)
  • Lapemis hardwickii, Leonhard Hess Stejneger (1907)
  • Enhydris hardwickii, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
  • Hydrophis hardwickei, Oskar Boettger (1888)


Please help us review our species pages if wrong photos are used or any other details in the page is wrong. We can be reached via our contact us page.

Lapemis hardwickii

Range Map