Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/95067
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Type: Journal article
Title: Molecules and morphology reveal overlooked populations of two presumed extinct Australian sea snakes (Aipysurus: Hydrophiinae)
Author: Sanders, K.
Schroeder, T.
Guinea, M.
Rasmussen, A.
Citation: PLoS One, 2015; 10(2):e0115679-1-e0115679-13
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1932-6203
1932-6203
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Kate L. Sanders, Tina Schroeder, Michael L. Guinea, Arne R. Rasmussen
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.
Keywords: Animals; Elapidae; Cytochromes b; DNA, Mitochondrial; Population Dynamics; Phylogeny; Australia; Female; Male; Endangered Species
Rights: © 2015 Sanders et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
RMID: 0030024746
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115679
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT130101965
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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