Sea snakes lose their stripes to deal with pollution

Sea snakes that live in polluted waters have evolved to ‘fill in’ their light stripes, darkening their skins to cope with pollution.

The finding1 adds turtle-headed sea snakes (Emydocephalus annulatus) to the diverse list of creatures that exhibit ‘industrial melanism’, when darker animal varieties become dominant in polluted environments. The phenomenon is a classic example of natural selection, and one of the best-known cases — the spread of the dark version of the peppered moth in sooty nineteenth-century Britain — is often quoted in biology textbooks. | Read more ... 

Rachael Lallensack