The Rennell Island sea krait, Laticauda crockeri, has an extremely restricted distribution and is confined to the brackish waters of Lake Tegano (otherwise known as Te-Nggano) Rennell Island, Solomon Islands.
Compared to other sea kraits (genera Laticauda and Pseudolaticauda) it is relatively small with unusual coloration - most sea krait species have a strongly banded colour pattern, but L. crockeri has indistinct bands and often appears entirely dark in colour.
Among the sea kraits L. crockeri is most closely related to the blue-lipped sea krait (Laticauda laticaudata) - a geographically remote species that is apparently absent from the southern Solomon Islands.
Laticauda crockeri shares Lake Tegano with a related species - the widespread yellow-lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina). The 2 species seem to avoid competing directly for the lake’s resources by having different dietary preferences and reproductive behaviours.
Little is known about the Rennell Island sea krait’s reproductive strategy, but there are reports that it bears live young, and unlike other sea kraits may have a completely aquatic life-history.
International Union for Conservation of Nature red list category and criteria: vulnerable B1+2c, D2.
Many sea kraits have dark bands on their bodies, but Laticauda crockeri is often uniformly dark. Find out how the appearance of this sea krait has confused taxonomists.
Laticauda crockeri is restricted to a single lake on Rennell Island, in the Solomon Islands. Discover more about its habitat and what it likes to eat.
No-one really knows how Laticauda crockeri reproduces, but reports suggest it bears live young. Find out what we do know about its life history and how it forages for food.
Get reference material for Laticauda crockeri.
Map of Lake Tenggano and Rennell Island © Lencer, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Lake Tegano, Rennell Island, is the only place where Laticauda crockeri lives.
Laticauda colubrina - a similar species to Laticauda crockeri.© Jens Petersen, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Laticauda laticaudata, a species that closely resembles Laticauda crockeri.© Jens Petersen, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
"Sea kraits have been an abiding interest of mine for over 30 years; I studied them for my PhD thesis.
While knowledge of the biology of other more widespread sea krait species has advanced significantly in recent times, the Rennell Island sea krait remains mysterious in many respects."