Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Boiga irregularis
(Reptiles-Snakes)

brown tree snake

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HEAR CLOSING      HEAR CLOSING      HEAR CLOSING

A message from Dr. David Duffy, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (PCSU), University of Hawaii (posted 05 November 2012):

Because of a lack of funds, HEAR (www.hear.org) may close as soon as December 15, although there may be enough funds to extend it until February 15. This will mean several things. The web site will be placed on a new server although it is not clear who will pay for the server or for transitioning the site. HEAR data will not be updated. The Pacific Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) (http://www.hear.org/pier/abtproj.htm) site will also become frozen, as will numerous books, reports and papers (http://www.hear.org/). As software evolves we will likely lose the ability to access the data. The various list servers will need new owners, otherwise moderated lists will cease to function altogether, while other lists will not be able to add or delete members. The photo collection (http://www.hear.org/starr/images/?o=plants) will remain accessible, but only through a third party site that will charge for access.

I should point out that we have already lost the original homes of both the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) and Pacific Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) although they have found temporary refuges. Together with HEAR, they represent the corporate memory both here in Hawaii and across the Pacific of efforts to sustain our natural ecosystems and agriculture against problems caused by species alien to the islands. HEAR also serves as the glue that holds the community together, providing information and facilitating communication. I just hope hindsight is kind to this decision.

PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS TO webmaster@hear.org

Let us know if you have suggestions for additional references to add to this page.

The brown tree snake ("BTS"; Boiga irregularis) is a nocturnal venomous snake that has the potential to create serious ecological and economic harm if introduced to areas where it is not native.  The brown tree snake has infamously devastated native (and other) bird populations on Guam, as well as populations of native bats and lizards. On Guam, the brown tree snake also causes frequent power outages (by short-circuiting lines by crossing transformers), causing millions of dollars in damage and downtime. Hundreds of emergency room admittances are due to brown tree snake bites, some requiring use of respiratory equipment to treat. It is possible that brown tree snake bites could cause respiratory failure in infants. The brown tree snake has the potential to cause the same problems in other areas--particularly now-snake-free islands, such as in Hawaii--if strict quarantine measures are not perpetually enforced.  The brown tree snake is NOT CURRENTLY KNOWN to be established in Hawaii, although several snakes have been apprehended at airports (typically associated with military flights from Guam).  Boiga irregularis is native to The native range of the brown tree snake is from Sulawesi through the Solomon Islands and northern and eastern Australia.  

Featured items

Stop the brown tree snake! View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
This brochure--"Stop the brown tree snake!"--contains information from Hawaii Department of Agriculture about prevention and potential impacts of snakes in Hawaii.


Species description or overview

Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) impacts, HI DLNR
Impacts of the brown tree snake on Guam are presented by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The brown tree snake, article from Wikipedia
The behavior, venom, and spread of the brown tree snake are reviewed in this Wikipedia article. Wikipedia articles are written, edited, and reviewed collaboratively by volunteers.

USDA/APHIS brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) information
Information on the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) is provided by USDA/APHIS.

USDA/APHIS brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) fact sheet View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Information on the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) is provided by USDA/APHIS in this fact sheet.

Brown treesnake fact sheet
Impacts and documented sightings of the brown treesnake in the Pacific area are in the factsheet from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Campbell, 2004)

Brown tree snake, species profile from USDA National Invasive Species Information Center
A brief overview of Boiga irregularis and many useful links are on this page from the NISIC.

Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis): ecology info from GISD (ISSG)
online

Boiga irregularis description and ecology from GISD (ISSG)
A species description and information about the ecology of Boiga irregularis as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).

Brown tree snake overview (James Cook University) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Description, biology, and behavior of the brown tree snake are presented (2001).


Taxonomy & nomenclature

Boiga irregularis information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Boiga irregularis, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.


Pest alerts

Stop the brown tree snake! View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
This brochure--"Stop the brown tree snake!"--contains information from Hawaii Department of Agriculture about prevention and potential impacts of snakes in Hawaii.


Impacts

Impacts of the brown treesnake on Guam
Information on the impacts of the brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) on Guam are presented by the USGS Fort Collins Science Center.

Review of brown treesnake problems and control programs: Report of observations and recommendations (March 2005) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The brown treesnake's environmental and socioeconomic impacts on Guam and threats to Pacific Basin communities are covered in this extensive (67 p) review prepared at the request of the U.S. Department of Interior, for the Brown Treesnake Control Committee.

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy (2000) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The status of invasive plants, vertebrates, arthropods, molluscs, and crustaceans, and options for a regional invasive species strategy for the South Pacific are presented in this series of articles from the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, 2000.

This bird only exists in captivity
The brown tree snake has eliminated wild populations of the Micronesian kingfisher, a bird native to Guam (9news, 11/17/2007).

Invasive predators: A synthesis of the past, present, and future View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Effects of various invasive predators on prey populations are described in a synthesis from USDA APHIS.

Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) impacts, HI DLNR
Impacts of the brown tree snake on Guam are presented by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Brown treesnake, or BTS (Boiga irregularis) information from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC).
Description, impacts, and images of brown treesnake are from HISC's high-profile invasive pests site.

Current research and future management of Marianas fruit bats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) on Guam (citation)
Predation by brown tree snakes affect the populations of bats native to Guam (Australian Mammology, 1987, citation only from the HEAR bibliography site).

The status and distribution of endangered animals and plants in northern Guam (citation)
The demise of several native species on Guam is attributed to the introduction of the brown tree snake, Boiga irregularis (Micronesica, 1995, citation only from the HEAR bibliography site).

Potential economic damage from introduction of brown tree snakes, Boiga irregularis (Reptilia: Colubridae), to the Islands of Hawaii
This study estimates potential annual economic damage of between $593 million and $2.14 billion from introduction of brown tree snakes to Hawaii (Pacific Science, 2010).

Invasions of the brown tree snake
History and impacts of the brown tree snake on Guam are reported (National Biological Service).

Stop the brown tree snake! View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
This brochure--"Stop the brown tree snake!"--contains information from Hawaii Department of Agriculture about prevention and potential impacts of snakes in Hawaii.

Economic impacts of invasive animal species
National and international resources for the economic impacts of invasive animal species are provided by the National Invasive Species Information Center.

Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis): impact info from GISD (ISSG)
Information about impacts of the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) in non-native environments is provided in the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) from IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).

Boiga irregularis impact information from GISD (ISSG)
Impact information regarding Boiga irregularis as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).

Saipan bridled white-eyes released on Sarigan
The Nosa, a unique endemic Mariana bird that only occurs on a few of the Mariana Islands, was translocated to Sarigan island since becoming extinct on Guam due to the brown treesnake (Saipan Tribune, 5/9/2007).

Impacts of the brown tree snake: patterns of decline and species persistence in Guam's avifauna  View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The study of brown tree snake's impacts on Guam's birds show that 22 species, including 17 of 18 native species, were severely affected by snakes, often with precipitous population declines (Conservation Biology, 2003).


Dispersal and pathways

Using pathway analysis to inform prevention strategies for alien reptiles and amphibians View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Analyses of 5,700 introductions of alien reptiles and amphibians worldwide provided pathway information necessary for design of informed prevention programs (F. Krauss, Bishop Museum, Managing Vertebrate Invasive Species: Proceedings of an International Symposium, 2007).


Prevention

USDA brown tree snake detection dog kennel facility to be built on Guam
"[T]he construction of a joint Military Working Dog and USDA brown tree snake detection dog kennel facility" on Guam has been funded (Pacific Magazine, 31 January 2006).

Brown tree snake sighting triggers funding
A brown snake spotted in the area of a Guam transport arriving at Hawaii's Hickam Air Force Base has raised awareness of the threat of brown tree snakes to Hawaii and triggered federal funding for anti-snake measures (Alan Holt, The Nature Conservancy, 1997).

Stop the brown tree snake! View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
This brochure--"Stop the brown tree snake!"--contains information from Hawaii Department of Agriculture about prevention and potential impacts of snakes in Hawaii.


Control methods

Control and containment of the brown treesnake
Information about control and containment of the brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) is provided by the USGS Fort Collins Science Center.

Control and containment of the brown treesnake on Guam
Information about control and containment of the brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) on Guam is provided by the USGS Fort Collins Science Center.

Control and Containment Efforts on the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), Hawaii, and Other Island Governments
Information about control and containment of the brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) on the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), Hawaii, and other islands is provided by the USGS Fort Collins Science Center.

The effect of trap spacing on the capture of brown tree snakes on Guam View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Research comparing inter-trap spacings indicates snake trapping may be extended or made more efficient by increasing the distances between traps (International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 2004).

Implications of brown tree snake captures from fences View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The design of fences affects the control of brown tree snakes in Guam (Wildlife Research, 1999).

Control and containment of the brown treesnake and other invasive reptiles (USGS project summary)
A brief description of the US Geologic Survey's brown treesnake control program is presented.

Brown tree snake program in Hawaii
Dogs are used to detect brown tree snakes on planes arriving from Guam into Hawaii.

Brown tree snake prevention programs
Public education and more extensive inspection of aircraft arriving in Hawaii are part of the efforts to keep Hawaii free of the brown tree snake.

Beyond the lamppost: Optimal prevention and control of the brown tree snake in Hawaii (citation and abstract)
An integrated model for the prevention and control of the brown tree snake in Hawaii is presented in the article from Ecological Economics (2008).

Boiga irregularis management information from GISD (ISSG)
Management information for Boiga irregularis as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Management plans

Management plans for invasive animals by species (USDA)
Management plans for invasive animals are provided by the National Invasive Species Information Center.


Images

Images of the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis)
Images of the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) are provided by the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) in the Pacific Environmental Image Gallery.

Brown tree snake images
Brown tree snake images at high resolution--available for use in publications courtesy of CGAPS--are available at this site.

Brown tree snake images
Kazuo Ogata and Mamoru Terayama

Boiga irregularis images from Wikimedia Commons
Images of brown tree snake posted on Wikimedia are free for public use [http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_Use].

Boiga irregularis images from HEAR
High-quality images of Boiga irregularis are provided by the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Boiga irregularis - brown tree snake (Colubridae - Squamata)
Images, web sites, news articles, blog entries, videos, and books are compiled by google on this Reptiles and Amphibians of Hawaii site.


Distribution

The Brown Treesnake on Guam
Information about the brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) on Guam is provided by the USGS Fort Collins Science Center.

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy (2000) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The status of invasive plants, vertebrates, arthropods, molluscs, and crustaceans, and options for a regional invasive species strategy for the South Pacific are presented in this series of articles from the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, 2000.

Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis): distribution info from GISD (ISSG)
public domain

Boiga irregularis worldwide distribution from GISD (ISSG)
Worldwide distribution information about Boiga irregularis is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Case studies

Prevention, eradication, and containment of invasive species: Illustrations from Hawaii
Policy outcomes as a function of biological and economic factors are illustrated by existing invader to Hawaii, Miconia calvescens and the potential arrival of the brown treesnake (Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 2006).


Books

Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives)
Veitch, C.R. and M.N. Clout (eds.) . 2002. Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives). IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. vii + 414pp. ISBN: 2-8317-0682-3.

A field guide to reptiles and amphibians in the Hawaiian Islands
McKeown, Sean. 1996. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians in the Hawaiian Islands. Diamond Head Publishing, Inc. 172 pp. Illus. ISBN: 0-9650731-0-6.

Alien reptiles and amphibians: a scientific compendium and analysis
Kraus, Fred. 2009. Alien reptiles and amphibians: a scientific compendium and analysis. Springer. 563 pp. illus.


In the news

Isles fear gap in inspections: Guam project increases risk of invasive species  important item 
Hawaii's biosecurity is threatened by the anticipated military buildup that would increase cargo transportation out of Guam by 600 times during the next two years (Honolulu Star Bulletin, 3/10/2008)

Invasive brown treesnake focus of multi-agency science meeting
The Brown Treesnake annual science meeting in Honolulu (16-18 April, 2008) involves about 100 interested parties from NGOs and local, territorial, State, and Federal agencies (USGS News 4/15/2008).

Leaders seek DoD policy on brown tree snakes
Micronesian leaders have jointly asked Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to implement a long-term policy to prevent the U.S. military from spreading brown tree snakes around the Pacific from Guam (Associated Press, 11/19/2007)

Military expansion increases risk of brown tree snake infestation in Pacific
The increased military presence on Guam has proportionately increased the risk of brown tree snake infestations throughout the Pacific region, hence the need to beef up efforts to control the invasion of this creature which poses a threat to the islands' ecosystem, according to Micronesian leaders (Marianas Variety, 11/19/2007).

This bird only exists in captivity
The brown tree snake has eliminated wild populations of the Micronesian kingfisher, a bird native to Guam (9news, 11/17/2007).

Safeguards pushed vs. spread of brown tree snake
Micronesian leaders asked Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to support inspections of all military vessels and cargo departing Guam to reduce the spread of brown tree snakes (Saipan Tribune, 11/17/2007).

Pentagon urged to ensure measures vs spread of brown tree snakes
Micronesian requested U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates implement a policy that will ensure brown tree snakes are not spread to the islands while the military does its business in the region (Marianas Variety 11/16/3007).

If vigilant, Hawaii could avoid Guam's big problem with brown tree snake View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Brown tree snake is the topic of the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) Kiai Moku Maui News column (11/11/2007).

USDA brown tree snake detection dog kennel facility to be built on Guam
"[T]he construction of a joint Military Working Dog and USDA brown tree snake detection dog kennel facility" on Guam has been funded (Pacific Magazine, 31 January 2006).

Snakes in the grass on Maui?
Snake sightings on Maui have alarmed wildlife scientists and catalyzed training sessions (Maui News, 11/23/1997).


Full-text articles

The Pacific's most infamous invader? The brown tree snake on Guam
ISSG's publication "Aliens" highlights the invasion of Guam by the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis).

The effect of trap spacing on the capture of brown tree snakes on Guam View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Research comparing inter-trap spacings indicates snake trapping may be extended or made more efficient by increasing the distances between traps (International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 2004).

Implications of brown tree snake captures from fences View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The design of fences affects the control of brown tree snakes in Guam (Wildlife Research, 1999).

Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy
South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). Sherley, Greg (ed.) . 2000. Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. Apia, Samoa: South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. ISBN: 982-04-0214-X.

Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives)
Veitch, C.R. and M.N. Clout (eds.) . 2002. Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species (proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives). IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. vii + 414pp. ISBN: 2-8317-0682-3.

An updated, indexed bibliography of the herpetofauna of Florida
Enge, Kevin M. 2002. An updated, indexed bibliography of the herpetofauna of Florida. Technical report no. 19.

Response of brown treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) to human blood
Only the citation is available at this site for the brown treesnake article published by Journal of Chemical Ecology.

Origin and population growth of the brown treesnake, Boiga irregularis, on Guam
Only the citation is available for the article on the brown treesnake at the HEAR bibliography site.

Current research and future management of Marianas fruit bats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) on Guam (citation)
Predation by brown tree snakes affect the populations of bats native to Guam (Australian Mammology, 1987, citation only from the HEAR bibliography site).

The status and distribution of endangered animals and plants in northern Guam (citation)
The demise of several native species on Guam is attributed to the introduction of the brown tree snake, Boiga irregularis (Micronesica, 1995, citation only from the HEAR bibliography site).

Brown treesnake fact sheet
Impacts and documented sightings of the brown treesnake in the Pacific area are in the factsheet from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Campbell, 2004)

Venom of the brown treesnake, Boiga irregularis: Ontogenetic shifts and taxa-specfic toxicity (full text)
Toxicity of the brown tree snake's venom is apparently related to the age of the snake and the species of the prey (Toxicon, 2006, from the HEAR bibliography site).

Potential economic damage from introduction of brown tree snakes, Boiga irregularis (Reptilia: Colubridae), to the Islands of Hawaii
This study estimates potential annual economic damage of between $593 million and $2.14 billion from introduction of brown tree snakes to Hawaii (Pacific Science, 2010).

Prevention, eradication, and containment of invasive species: Illustrations from Hawaii
Policy outcomes as a function of biological and economic factors are illustrated by existing invader to Hawaii, Miconia calvescens and the potential arrival of the brown treesnake (Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 2006).

Invasions of the brown tree snake
History and impacts of the brown tree snake on Guam are reported (National Biological Service).

Beyond the lamppost: Optimal prevention and control of the brown tree snake in Hawaii (citation and abstract)
An integrated model for the prevention and control of the brown tree snake in Hawaii is presented in the article from Ecological Economics (2008).

Brown tree snake discoveries during detector dog inspections following supertyphoon Paka
The article on brown tree snake discoveries is cited on the HEAR bibliography site (Micronesica, 2000).

Impacts of the brown tree snake: patterns of decline and species persistence in Guam's avifauna  View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The study of brown tree snake's impacts on Guam's birds show that 22 species, including 17 of 18 native species, were severely affected by snakes, often with precipitous population declines (Conservation Biology, 2003).


Abstracts

Beyond the lamppost: Optimal prevention and control of the brown tree snake in Hawaii (citation and abstract)
An integrated model for the prevention and control of the brown tree snake in Hawaii is presented in the article from Ecological Economics (2008).


Presentations

The effects of the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) on the native birds of Guam
Mass extinctions of native bird populations on Guam can be attributed to the invasion of the brown tree snake.


Experts

Boiga irregularis contacts from GISD (ISSG)
Contact information for experts on Boiga irregularis as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Discussion forums

Discussion groups - animals
Information about electronic mailing lists that discuss issues related to invasive animal species is provided by the National Invasive Species Information Center.


Other resources

brown tree snake - Boiga irregularis
THe Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk projects links to sites with information regarding the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis).

Boiga irregularis references from GISD (ISSG)
References regarding Boiga irregularis as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).

The North America Brown Tree Snake Control Team
The North America Brown Tree Snake Control Team website supports their mission: "To prevent the invasion of Brown Tree Snakes into continental North America through education and awareness and through rapid response assessments of potential sightings via a partnership of stakeholders."


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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) is currently funded by grants from the Hau'oli Mau Loa Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service with support from PCSU (UH Manoa). Historically, HEAR has also received funding and/or support from the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), PIERC (USGS), the USFWS, HCSU (UH Hilo), and HALE (NPS).

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