Coral Reefs

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 281-284

First online:

Decline in sea snake abundance on a protected coral reef system in the New Caledonian Lagoon

  • C. GoiranAffiliated withLabex CORAIL, Laboratoire LIVE, Université de la Nouvelle-Calédonie
  • , R. ShineAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences A08, University of Sydney Email author 

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Monitoring results from a small reef (Ile aux Canards) near Noumea in the New Caledonian Lagoon reveal that numbers of turtle-headed sea snakes (Emydocephalus annulatus) have been in consistent decline over a 9-year period, with average daily counts of snakes decreasing from >6 to <2 over this period. Causal factors for the decline are unclear, because the site is a protected area used only for tourism. Our results suggest that wildlife management authorities should carefully monitor sea snake populations to check whether the declines now documented for New Caledonia and in nearby Australian waters also occur around the islands of the Indo-Pacific.


Conservation Hydrophiine Surveys Sea snake