Abstract.—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.
Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 2013, Vol 8, Issue 1, p. 37-52