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The interaction between climate change and biological invasions is a global conservation challenge with major consequences for invasive species management. However, our understanding of this interaction has substantial knowledge gaps; this is particularly relevant for invasive snakes on islands because they can be a serious threat to island ecosystems. Here we evaluated the potential influence of climate change on the distribution of invasive snakes on islands, using the invasion of the California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) in Gran Canaria. We analysed the potential distribution of L. californiae under current and future climatic conditions in the Canary Islands, with the underlying hypothesis that the archipelago might be suitable for the species under these climate scenarios. Our results indicate that the Canary Islands are currently highly suitable for the invasive snake, with increased suitability under the climate change scenarios tested here. This study supports the idea that invasive reptiles represent a substantial threat to near-tropical regions, and builds on previous studies suggesting that the menace of invasive reptiles may persist or even be exacerbated by climate change. We suggest future research should continue to fill the knowledge gap regarding invasive reptiles, in particular snakes, to clarify their potential future impacts on global biodiversity.
Piquet, J. C., Warren, D. L., Saavedra Bolaños, J. F., Sánchez Rivero, J. M., Gallo-Barneto, R., Cabrera-Pérez, M. Á., … López-Darias, M. (2021). Could climate change benefit invasive snakes? Modelling the potential distribution of the California Kingsnake in the Canary Islands. Journal of Environmental Management, 294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112917