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40. Python reticulatus Schneider, reticulated python*.

The above four species of snakes are frequently sold as pets and there are many reports of
escaped specimens in and near residential areas (Bury and Luckenbach 1976). There are no
known wild reproducing populations. Many of the specimens found in the wild often die during
winter because of low temperatures (W. Dejesus, pers. commun.).

Family COLUBRIDAE— Colubrids.

41. Drymarchon corals (Daudin). Indigo snake*.

42. Lampropeltis getulus (Linnaeus), common kingsnake.

42a. Lampropeltis getulus floridana Blanchard. Florida kingsnake*.

43. Nerodia fasciata (Linnaeus), southern water snake * ^^.

43a. Nerodia fasciata fasciata (Linnaeus), banded water snake*.

These three snakes, all native to the eastern United States, were reported by Bury and
Luckenbach (1976) in the Los Angeles city area. All were escaped pets. There are no known
naturally reproducing populations.

44. Nerodia sipedon (Linnaeus), common water snake*.

44a. Nerodia sipedon sipedon (Linnaeus), northern water snake*.

One young specimen was collected from El Dorado Park, Los Angeles County, and given to
the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History in 1974 (LACM 109564). The snake is
probably the result of a released pregnant female. No other specimens have been found.

45. Leptodeira annulata (Linnaeus), cat-eyed snake*.

Repeatedly reported from San Francisco warehouses before the practice of routinely gassing
banana shipments (Banta and Morafka 1966). The species has not been seen in California for
many years.

Family ELAPIDAE — Cobras and Their Allies

46. Naja haje (Linnaeus). Egyptian cobra*.

Reported by Sean Barry as collected in Pasadena, Los Angeles County (Bury and Luckenbach
1976). No other specimens have been recorded. The discovery of this highly venomous snake
in a heavily populated residential area points out the problem of the public illegally keeping
dangerous exotic reptiles in private collections.



'* Although the substitution of Nerodia for Natrix has not been utilized by many workers, its acceptance by the
Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles predestines its use in this check list.



168 CALIFORNIA FISH AND CAME

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am indebted to the following individuals for their assistance and cooperation:
J. St. Amant, J. Berrian, L. Bottroff, B. Brattstrom, W. Dejesus, N. Dollahite, H.
Fisher, E. Cleason, W. Houck, R. Jillson, W. Loudernnilk, C. Matthews, C. Pregill,
M. Ruggles, P. Sullivan, and J. Wright.

L Swantz of the Orange County Chapter of the California Turtle and Tortoise
Club kindly provided information about exotic turtles from Los Angeles County
and C. Cole of the American Museum of Natural History graciously provided
the latest information about his upcoming publication on Tantilla systematics in
western North America.

I would also like to thank j. Brode for his helpful comments on an early draft
of this paper and to H. Greene, R. Stebbins, G. Stewart, and D. Wake who took
time out of their busy schedules to review the final manuscript. I appreciate their
comments and criticisms and incorporated many of their views in this paper.
However, I have not been able to reconcile all of our differences, so one should
not assume that they are in complete agreement with all the names listed here.

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AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE CHECK LIST 169

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170 CALIFORNIA FISH AND CAME

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172 CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME

Calif. Fish and Came 69 { 3 ); 1 72-1 77 1 983

NORTHERN OCCURRENCES OF THE SEA SNAKE, PELAMiS

PLATURUS, IN THE EASTERN PACIFIC, WITH A RECORD

OF PREDATION ON THE SPECIES '

GEORGE V. PICKWELL

Marine Sciences Division

Naval Ocean Systems Center

San Diego, C A 92152

ROBERT L. BEZY

Section of Herpetology

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Los Ar-^eles, CA 90007

AND

JOHN E. fitch'

Operations Research Branch

California Department of Fish and Game

Long Beach, CA 90802

Four specimens of the yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelamis platurus, from southern
California and the outer coast of Baja California represent the northernmost records
of this species in the eastern Pacific. Three of the snakes were probably carried
northward by a warm countercurrent (Davidson Current) along the coast of Baja
California and southern California during the warm periods of 1972-73 and 1976-77.
One of the individuals had been ingested by a puffer Sphoeroides cf. annulatus; this
represents the second reported instance of predation on the species in nature.

INTRODUCTION

The yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelamis platurus (Linnaeus), is the most widely
distributed species of snake (Pickwell 1972, Pickwell and Culotta 1980). Al-
though breeding populations seem restriced to tropical latitudes (Dunson and
Ehlert 1971; Graham, Rubinoff, and Hecht 1971; Hecht, Kropach, and Hecht
1974), the species occurs widely in both the Pacific and Indian oceans, and is
the most pelagic of the sea snakes. Individuals have been found as far north as
Possiet Bay (lat 42°39'N; Strauch 1873; = Zaiiv Pos'yeta, U.S.S.R.) in the west-
ern Pacific, but northern records in the eastern Pacific remain poorly known.

We here document the occurrence of a live individual of P. platurus on the
coast of southern California and three specimens from the outer coast of Baja
California, Mexico, one of which appears to represent the second record of
predation on the species in nature.

LOCATIONS

San Clennente
On 23 November 1972, a live adult P. platurus was discovered stranded on
the beach at San Clemente, Orange Co., California (lat 33°25'N). Andrew J.
Reich, a lifeguard, took custody of the snake and placed it in a salt water
aquarium where it survived for 12 hours. The specimen was frozen shortly after
death and borrowed 6 days later by Pickwell for examination and preservation.
It was returned to the collector, who ultimately deposited it in the herpetological



' Accepted for publication April 1982.

* Mr. Fitch passed away on 30 September 1982.



SEA SNAKE OCCURRENCES 173

collections of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LACM
109657). This is the first sea snake collected in the continental United States.

The specimen is a female with a snout-vent length of 660 mm, tail length of
79 mm, tricolor pattern, dark venter, narrow lateral yellow stripe, eggs present
in oviduct, substantial fat deposits, and no ectoparasites.

Mean sea surface temperature at San Clemente for 23 November 1972 was
16.rC, and for the month of November 16.5°C, with a range of daily means of
15.6 to 17.8°C.

Bahia Blanca

Ivan Goyette, a commercial fisherman from the boat Margot, presented a
dead P. platurus to the California Department of Fish and Game at Long Beach
on 21 November 1977. The snake was reported to have been regurgitated by
a puffer, Sphoeroidessp., that was gill-netted in the vicinity of Bahia Blanca, Baja
California Norte, Mexico (lat 29°02'N). The 11.5 cm stretch gill net was set at
a depth of 46-64 m at 5-8 km offshore, where the fisherman was attempting to
catch white seabass, Atractoscion nobilis. Unfortunately, the fish was not re-
tained, but from the fisherman's careful description it was either 5. annulatus,
the bullseye puffer or 5. lobatus, the longnose puffer (Fitch 1973), probably the
former.

When the snake was brought in it appeared to be quite fresh, but to have been
chewed, and the head and neck were missing. The specimen (LACM 127(X)2)
is a male with a body length (minus head and neck) of 470 mm, a tail length
of 73 mm and a bicolor pattern. We estimate the total length of the specimen
to have been 650-700 mm.

Bahia Magdalena

A specimen of P. p/aturus was collected by Paul Bartsch at Isia Santa Margarita
on 1 9 March 1911. This island, centered at lat 24°26'N forms the southern barrier
of Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico. The snake was collected on
the 1911 Albatross Expedition to Baja California and the Gulf of California and
appears to have been overlooked in the published results of the expedition
(Townsend 1916, Schmidt 1922) and most of the herpetological literature for
Baja California. The specimen was cited by Smith (1943), but was incorrectly
listed as being from the Tres Marias Islands (Nayarit). However, the Bahia
Magdalena location was shown on a distribution map of Pelamis by Graham et
al. (1971 ). The specimen is in the collection of the National Museum of Natural


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