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      Drinking by sea snakes from oceanic freshwater lenses at first rainfall ending seasonal drought

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          Abstract

          Acquisition of fresh water (FW) is problematic for FW-dependent animals living in marine environments that are distant from sources of FW associated with land. Knowledge of how marine vertebrates respond to oceanic rainfall, and indeed the drinking responses of vertebrates generally following drought, is extremely scant. The Yellow-bellied Sea Snake ( Hydrophis platurus) is the only pelagic species of squamate reptile and ranges across the Indo-Pacific oceans, having one of the largest geographic distributions of any vertebrate species. It requires FW and dehydrates at sea during periods of drought. Here we report drinking behaviors of sea snakes precisely at the transition from dry to wet season when rainfall first impacted the ocean following 6 months of seasonal drought. We show that the percentage of sea snakes that voluntarily drank FW in the laboratory when captured over eight successive days decreased from 80% to 13% before and after rainfall commenced, respectively. The percentage of snakes that drank immediately following capture exhibited a significant linear decline as the earliest rains of the wet season continued. Drinking by snakes indicates thirst related to dehydration, and thus thirsty snakes must have dehydrated during the previous six months of drought. Hence, the progressive decline in percentage of thirsty snakes indicates they were drinking from FW lenses associated with the first rainfall events of the wet season. These data reinforce the importance of accessing oceanic FW from precipitation, with implications for survival and distribution of pelagic populations that might be subjected to intensifying drought related to climate change.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Precipitation sensitivity to global warming: Comparison of observations with HadCM2 simulations

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            Sea snakes (Laticauda spp.) require fresh drinking water: implication for the distribution and persistence of populations.

            Dehydration and procurement of water are key problems for vertebrates that have secondarily invaded marine environments. Sea snakes and other marine reptiles are thought to remain in water balance without consuming freshwater, owing to the ability of extrarenal salt glands to excrete excess salts obtained either from prey or from drinking seawater directly. Contrary to this long-standing dogma, we report that three species of sea snake actually dehydrate in marine environments. We investigated dehydration and drinking behaviors in three species of amphibious sea kraits (Laticauda spp.) representing a range of habits from semiterrestrial to very highly marine. Snakes that we dehydrated either in air or in seawater refused to drink seawater but drank freshwater or very dilute brackish water (10%-30% seawater) to remain in water balance. We further show that Laticauda spp. can dehydrate severely in the wild and are far more abundant at sites where there are sources of freshwater. A more global examination of all sea snakes demonstrates that species richness correlates positively with mean annual precipitation within the Indo-West Pacific tropical region. The dependence of Laticauda spp. on freshwater might explain the characteristically patchy distributions of these reptiles and is relevant to understanding patterns of extinctions and possible future responses to changes in precipitation related to global warming. In particular, metapopulation dynamics of the Laticauda group of sea snakes are expected to change in relation to projected reductions of tropical dry-season precipitation.
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              Salinity influences the distribution of marine snakes: implications for evolutionary transitions to marine life

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: Funding acquisitionRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: ResourcesRole: SupervisionRole: ValidationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Data curationRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: InvestigationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: InvestigationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Formal analysisRole: ResourcesRole: SoftwareRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                7 February 2019
                2019
                : 14
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America
                [2 ] Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America
                [3 ] ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
                Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, AUSTRALIA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                [¤]

                Current address: School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

                Article
                PONE-D-18-28676
                10.1371/journal.pone.0212099
                6366689
                30730972
                © 2019 Lillywhite et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 0, Pages: 11
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100008982, National Science Foundation;
                Award ID: IOS-0926802
                Award Recipient :
                This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, grant # IOS-0926802 to HBL. JC-R was a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar, and MS was supported in part by a University of Florida Seahorse Key Fellowship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Organisms
                Eukaryota
                Animals
                Vertebrates
                Amniotes
                Reptiles
                Squamates
                Snakes
                Earth Sciences
                Marine and Aquatic Sciences
                Bodies of Water
                Oceans
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Drought
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Aquatic Environments
                Marine Environments
                Sea Water
                Earth Sciences
                Marine and Aquatic Sciences
                Aquatic Environments
                Marine Environments
                Sea Water
                Earth Sciences
                Atmospheric Science
                Meteorology
                Rain
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Diagnostic Medicine
                Signs and Symptoms
                Dehydration (Medicine)
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
                Signs and Symptoms
                Dehydration (Medicine)
                Earth Sciences
                Seasons
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Aquatic Environments
                Freshwater Environments
                Fresh Water
                Earth Sciences
                Marine and Aquatic Sciences
                Aquatic Environments
                Freshwater Environments
                Fresh Water
                Custom metadata
                All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.

                Uncategorized

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