Yellow-lipped Sea Kraits (Laticauda colubrina) are tropical amphibious snakes that divide their time between land and sea. When moving between habitats, the kraits experience rapid and sometimes extreme shifts in body temperature that can have profound metabolic effects. We quantified cutaneous and pulmonary oxygen uptake in sea kraits from Hoga Island, southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, at temperatures commonly encountered in aquatic (27.6°C) and aerial (35.2°C) habitats. Total oxygen uptake rate was 49.14 mL Kg−1 h−1 at 27.6°C and 115.27 mL Kg−1 h−1 at 35.2°C. Pulmonary and cutaneous uptake rates were 44.58 and 104.70, and 4.56 and 10.57 mL Kg−1 h−1, at 27.6 and 35.2°C, respectively. Sea kraits had a temperature coefficient (Q10) of approximately 3, suggesting that metabolic rates triple with every 10°C temperature increase. High Q10 values may minimize time on land by increasing digestion and nutrient absorption rates as well as promoting faster healing and injury recovery times. Cooler reef temperatures would decrease metabolic demand, thus increasing submergence and foraging times.
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Vol. 68 • No. 2