Fascinating and Forgotten: The Conservation Status of Marine Elapid Snakes

Cristine Elfes, Suzanne Livingstone, Amanda Lane, Vimoksalehi Lukosche, Kate Sanders, Anthony Courtney, Joey Gatus, Michael Guinea, Aaron Lobo, David Milton, Arne Rasmussen, Mark Read, Mahree-Dee White, Jonnell Sanciangco, Angel Alcala, Harold Heatwole, Daryl Karns, Jefrey Seminoff, Harold Voris, Kent CarpenterJohn Murphy

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    An assessment of marine elapid snakes found 9% of marine elapids are threatened with extinction, and an additional 6% are Near Threatened. A large portion (34%) is Data Deficient. An analysis of distributions revealed the greatest species diversity is found in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. Three of the seven threatened species occur at Ashmore and Hibernia Reefs in the Timor Sea, while the remaining threatened taxa occur in the Philippines, Niue, and Solomon Islands. The majority of Data Deficient species are found in Southeast Asia. Threats to marine snakes include loss of coral reefs and coastal habitat, incidental bycatch in fisheries, as well as fisheries that target snakes for leather. The presence of two Critically Endangered and one Endangered species in the Timor Sea suggests the area is of particular conservation concern. More rigorous, long-term monitoring of populations is needed to evaluate the success of "conservation measures" for marine snake species, provide scientifically based guidance for determining harvest quotas, and to assess the populations of many Data Deficient species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-52
    Number of pages16
    JournalHerpetological Conservation and Biology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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