Click on image for full size
Illustration by Lisa Gardiner
Sea snakes search for home!
News story originally written on October 4, 2002
Plans to move sea snakes between Pacific islands might be foiled by the snakes and their fascinating instinct to find their home!
The sea snakes live near reefs in shallow waters next to Pacific Ocean islands. People have been fishing for the snakes around some of the islands because their skins have been used to make a type of leather. Too much fishing reduced the number of snakes until there were no more in the shallow water next to some islands. To solve this problem, conservationists planned to move some snakes from places where there are many to places where they have disappeared.
However, the snakes might not want to move! According to researchers who study the reptiles, there is a problem with the plan because certain types of sea snakes have an instinct to always go back home. Some sea snakes have homing behavior, which means that they can navigate, finding their way over long distances, enabling them to get back to their island.
Other animals have homing behavior too, such as crocodiles, sea turtles, whales and homing pigeons. Some animals can find their way because they remember the landmarks they must pass. Other animals have a special ability to find specific locations, even without landmarks. Scientists believe these animals might be using the positions of stars or the Earth’s magnetic field to point them in the right direction.
Last modified October 9, 2002 by Lisa Gardiner.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The magnetic field of the Earth is enclosed in a region surrounding the Earth called the magnetosphere. As the Earth rotates, its hot core generates...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more