Wild Things: Life as We Know It- page 3 | Science | Smithsonian
Northern quolls, cat-size Australian marsupials (FLPA / David Hosking / AGE Fotostock)

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Hummingbirds, birch trees, queen bees, northern quolls and more...

Sleek Stripes

sea snakes striped
(Cheryl Carlin)
Why are so many sea snakes striped? University of Sydney scientists say solid black sea snakes may be at a disadvantage: they are coated with more algae, which slows them down. In underwater lab tests algae bloomed faster on all-dark surfaces, the scientists found; such fuzz causes so much drag it reduces the serpents’ speed by about 20 percent. No wonder black, algae-covered snakes are more often found skulking in coral hideaways than out-and-about striped snakes.

Learn more about sea snakes at the Encyclopedia of Life.

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