Although widespread and abundant at many locations, the banded sea krait is threatened by climate change, and by disturbances to both its marine and terrestrial habitats (1).
As an amphibious species, the banded sea krait uses shore habitats for laying eggs, digesting prey and moulting. Egg laying only occurs at certain tides, when shore habitats are accessible. Therefore, sea level rise associated with climate change could threaten this species, by rendering many sites unusable for egg laying and other activities (1).
Climate change may also threaten this species through the loss of its coral reef habitat. Elevated sea temperatures will increase the risk of coral bleaching, in which the stressed corals expel their symbiotic algae known as ‘zooxanthellae’, often resulting in the death of the coral. Climate change may also lead to more frequent, severe storms, which can damage reefs, while rising carbon dioxide levels may make the ocean increasingly acidic, weakening the coral’s skeleton. Such stresses can also make corals more susceptible to disease, parasites and predators (6) (7) (8).
Coastal developments and other human disturbances also threaten the banded sea krait and its habitats. This species is attracted to light and may be affected by lighting from hotels and beach shacks. In addition, the banded sea krait is hunted for food in parts of its range, including in the Philippines, where it is smoked and exported to Japanese markets (1).