• Tatum Williams

Black turtle-headed sea snakes

As our world progressively becomes more dependent on factories and fossil-fueled machines, our air and water becomes excessively polluted. Now, according to new findings published in New Scientist and National Geographic, the toxicity of the pollution has caused our animals to change their color, which helps to detoxify their body and protect their organs from heavy metals. The black color is caused by the increase in melanin in their scales, feathers, or skin.

The recent peak in black turtle-headed sea snakes in the waters near cities has caught the attention of many scientists, including evolutionary ecologist Rick Shine of the University of Sydney. According to Science News, Shine stated, “In 15 places surveyed, the all-black form was more likely to predominate in waters near cities, military sites or industrial zones than along reefs near less built-up coastlines.”

The pollution isn’t only affecting the turtle headed sea snake but also the sea krait and city birds. Collecting the shed skin from turtle headed sea snakes gave scientists the information they needed to come to this explanation. The snakes farther from the cities had a smaller of arsenic and zinc.