The Spine-bellied Sea snake, or Hardwicke's Spine-bellied Sea snake, (Lapemis hardwickii) is a species of sea snake.


  • 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").


This species is located in warm waters:

hardwickii: Burma, southeast coast of India and the Straits of Malacca, east to Australia and north to China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan. [1]


  1. Leviton et al. 2003


  • Gray. J. E.; 1835 Illustrations of Indian Zoology, chiefly selected from the collection of Major - General Hardwicke. Vol. 2. London (1833-1834): 263 pp., 95 plates
  • Gray, J. E.; 1843 "Description of two new species of reptiles from the collection made during the voyages of H.M.S. Sulphur." Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (1) 11: 46
  • Gritis, P. & VORIS H. K.; 1990 "Variability and significance of parietal and ventral scales in the marine snakes of the genus Lapemis (Serpentes: Hydrophiidae), with comments on the occurrence of spiny scales in the genus." Fieldiana Zool. n.s. (56): i-iii + 1-13.Template:Elapidae-stub

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