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Acrochordus javanicus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA ACROCHORDIDAE

Scientific Name: Acrochordus javanicus
Species Authority: Hornstedt, 1787
Common Name(s):
English Elephant Trunk Snake, Javan File Snake, Elephant's Trunk Snake, Javan Wart Snake
Taxonomic Notes: Independent molecular markers suggest A. javanicus includes two species: the first occurring in Thailand, West and East Malayia, North Sumatra and Riau, the second in Jambi and South Sumatra, Java and Kalimanatan (Sanders et al. in review).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-08-29
Assessor(s): Sanders, K., Grismer, L. & Chan-Ard, T.
Reviewer(s): Tognelli, M. & Bowles, P.
Justification:
This species is wide-ranging and common. It is heavily harvested for the leather trade throughout its range, however, there is no evidence that this is causing declines in the population. This species is highly fecund and reproduces quickly. Habitat destruction may affect this species in the future, and so populations and harvests should be managed and monitored. This species is listed as Least Concern.
History:
2010 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: A. javanicus is found in central (Riau and Jambi) and northern Sumatra and around the west coast of Malaysia, including the islands of Penang and Langkawi, and east Malaysia in Sarawak. It also occurs in southern Thailand to Bangkok, and in Indonesia (Kalimantan, Java) and it may occur in Bali, but not east of the Wallace Line or in Viet Nam (K. Sanders pers. comm. 2008). It is restricted to inland freshwater and brackish habitats. This species occurs between sea level and 150 m.
Countries:
Native:
Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan, Sumatera); Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak); Thailand
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A. javanicus is often locally abundant in degraded and agricultural as well as natural habitats. There is no indication that catch rates or individual size have declined in the past ten years (Nijman et al. in press 2010). It is likely that a fairly high level of harvest is sustainable. However, there are large rural human populations in much of the species' range, and harvest is intentional as well as opportunistic.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A. javanicus is found in inland freshwater habitats and the brackish zone of rivers, streams, and estuaries. In Thaliand and Malaysia they occur in peat swamps and rices paddies.

Shine et al. (1995) found that larger female A. javanicus produce larger litters, and about two-thirds of the adult females sampled were reproductive that year. The Javan Wart Snake bears live young, about 20 to 30 offspring at one time. It has amniotic eggs, which are retained in the oviducts of the snake and are fertilized internally. The young snakes are semi-terrestrial, until their baggy skin is fully developed. Reproduction is seasonal in all three acrochordids, with ovulation around July and parturition five or six months later.

It feeds primarily on fish and other aquatic animals including frogs.
Systems: Freshwater; Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is collected for pet trade and for its skin.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is used for the commercial skin industry. The annual trade in A. javanicus (in five cities in East and South Kalimantan, and North Sumatra, Riau (central Sumatra) and South Sumatra, 2005-6) was estimated at around 300,000 individuals from Kalimantan and 30,000 from Sumatra, exceeding the national quota of 200,000 individuals per year (Nijman et al. in press).

The biology of A. javanicus, and the ways in which this species is collected for the commercial skin industry, suggest that the current harvest is unlikely to seriously reduce wild populations (Shine et al. 1995). The relatively aseasonal precipitation regime in much of its range, the extensive (and largely inaccessible) habitat, the lack of specific and efficient techniques to capture snakes, and the high reproductive output of the snakes are some of the factors contributing to this continued sustainability (Shine et al. 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures in place for this species. This species is not listed by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). In Thailand there is a prohibition to export any living snake.

An effective and successful method of captive breeding is not available for this species, although they are often kept successfully by zoos and private collectors. This may reduce capture in the wild.

This species is present in several protected areas in Thailand in Malaysia.

Citation: Sanders, K., Grismer, L. & Chan-Ard, T. 2012. Acrochordus javanicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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