Molecules and morphology reveal overlooked populations of two presumed extinct Australian sea snakes (Aipysurus: Hydrophiinae)

Kate Laura Sanders, Tina Schroeder, Michael L. Guinea, Arne Redsted Rasmussen

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Resumé

The critically endangered leaf-scaled (Aipysurus foliosquamaI) and short-nosed (A. apraefrontalis) sea snakes are currently recognised only from Ashmore and Hibernia reefs ~600km off the northwest Australian coast. Steep population declines in both species were documented over 15 years and neither has been sighted on dedicated surveys of Ashmore and Hibernia since 2001. We examine specimens of these species that were collected from coastal northwest Australian habitats up until 2010 (A.foliosquama) and 2012 (A. apraefrontalis) and were either overlooked or treated as vagrants in conservation assessments.Morphological variation and mitochondrial sequence data confirm the assignment of these coastal specimens to A. foliosquama (Barrow Island, and offshore from Port Hedland) and A.apraefrontalis (Exmouth Gulf, and offshore from Roebourne and Broome). Collection dates, and molecular and morphological variation between coastal and offshore specimens, suggest that the coastal specimens are not vagrants as previously suspected, but instead represent separate breeding populations. The newly recognised populations present another chance for leaf scaled and short-nosed sea snakes, but coastal habitats in northwest Australia are widely threatened by infrastructure developments and sea snakes are presently omitted from environmental impact assessments for industry. Further studies are urgently needed to assess these species’ remaining distributions, population structure, and extent of occurrence in protected areas.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftP L o S One
Vol/bind10
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)1-13
Antal sider13
ISSN1932-6203
StatusUdgivet - 11 feb. 2015

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

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title = "Molecules and morphology reveal overlooked populations of two presumed extinct Australian sea snakes (Aipysurus: Hydrophiinae)",
abstract = "The critically endangered leaf-scaled (Aipysurus foliosquamaI) and short-nosed (A. apraefrontalis) sea snakes are currently recognised only from Ashmore and Hibernia reefs ~600km off the northwest Australian coast. Steep population declines in both species were documented over 15 years and neither has been sighted on dedicated surveys of Ashmore and Hibernia since 2001. We examine specimens of these species that were collected from coastal northwest Australian habitats up until 2010 (A.foliosquama) and 2012 (A. apraefrontalis) and were either overlooked or treated as vagrants in conservation assessments.Morphological variation and mitochondrial sequence data confirm the assignment of these coastal specimens to A. foliosquama (Barrow Island, and offshore from Port Hedland) and A.apraefrontalis (Exmouth Gulf, and offshore from Roebourne and Broome). Collection dates, and molecular and morphological variation between coastal and offshore specimens, suggest that the coastal specimens are not vagrants as previously suspected, but instead represent separate breeding populations. The newly recognised populations present another chance for leaf scaled and short-nosed sea snakes, but coastal habitats in northwest Australia are widely threatened by infrastructure developments and sea snakes are presently omitted from environmental impact assessments for industry. Further studies are urgently needed to assess these species’ remaining distributions, population structure, and extent of occurrence in protected areas.",
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Molecules and morphology reveal overlooked populations of two presumed extinct Australian sea snakes (Aipysurus: Hydrophiinae). / Sanders, Kate Laura; Schroeder, Tina; Guinea, Michael L.; Redsted Rasmussen, Arne.

I: P L o S One, Bind 10, Nr. 2, 11.02.2015, s. 1-13.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Molecules and morphology reveal overlooked populations of two presumed extinct Australian sea snakes (Aipysurus: Hydrophiinae)

AU - Sanders, Kate Laura

AU - Schroeder, Tina

AU - Guinea, Michael L.

AU - Redsted Rasmussen, Arne

PY - 2015/2/11

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N2 - The critically endangered leaf-scaled (Aipysurus foliosquamaI) and short-nosed (A. apraefrontalis) sea snakes are currently recognised only from Ashmore and Hibernia reefs ~600km off the northwest Australian coast. Steep population declines in both species were documented over 15 years and neither has been sighted on dedicated surveys of Ashmore and Hibernia since 2001. We examine specimens of these species that were collected from coastal northwest Australian habitats up until 2010 (A.foliosquama) and 2012 (A. apraefrontalis) and were either overlooked or treated as vagrants in conservation assessments.Morphological variation and mitochondrial sequence data confirm the assignment of these coastal specimens to A. foliosquama (Barrow Island, and offshore from Port Hedland) and A.apraefrontalis (Exmouth Gulf, and offshore from Roebourne and Broome). Collection dates, and molecular and morphological variation between coastal and offshore specimens, suggest that the coastal specimens are not vagrants as previously suspected, but instead represent separate breeding populations. The newly recognised populations present another chance for leaf scaled and short-nosed sea snakes, but coastal habitats in northwest Australia are widely threatened by infrastructure developments and sea snakes are presently omitted from environmental impact assessments for industry. Further studies are urgently needed to assess these species’ remaining distributions, population structure, and extent of occurrence in protected areas.

AB - The critically endangered leaf-scaled (Aipysurus foliosquamaI) and short-nosed (A. apraefrontalis) sea snakes are currently recognised only from Ashmore and Hibernia reefs ~600km off the northwest Australian coast. Steep population declines in both species were documented over 15 years and neither has been sighted on dedicated surveys of Ashmore and Hibernia since 2001. We examine specimens of these species that were collected from coastal northwest Australian habitats up until 2010 (A.foliosquama) and 2012 (A. apraefrontalis) and were either overlooked or treated as vagrants in conservation assessments.Morphological variation and mitochondrial sequence data confirm the assignment of these coastal specimens to A. foliosquama (Barrow Island, and offshore from Port Hedland) and A.apraefrontalis (Exmouth Gulf, and offshore from Roebourne and Broome). Collection dates, and molecular and morphological variation between coastal and offshore specimens, suggest that the coastal specimens are not vagrants as previously suspected, but instead represent separate breeding populations. The newly recognised populations present another chance for leaf scaled and short-nosed sea snakes, but coastal habitats in northwest Australia are widely threatened by infrastructure developments and sea snakes are presently omitted from environmental impact assessments for industry. Further studies are urgently needed to assess these species’ remaining distributions, population structure, and extent of occurrence in protected areas.

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EP - 13

JO - P L o S One

JF - P L o S One

SN - 1932-6203

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