Scientists think pollution is turning sea snakes black

Sea snake

The turtle-headed sea snake in the Pacific ocean typically is black and white striped. However, for the past several year scientists have been observing individuals of this species living in the ocean close to cities exhibiting all black coloration. Claire Goiran, of the University of New Caledonia and lead scientist for the study, believes the darker skin pigment allows the sea snakes to excrete pollutants through their skin faster than lighter colored pigments.

The scientists also observed that snakes with the all black coloration had higher levels of arsenic and zinc and shed their skin faster than turtle head sea snakes with striped coloration. This phenomenon has been observed by scientists studying different animals in other urban areas throughout the world.

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