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Cryptoblepharus egeriae 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Cryptoblepharus egeriae (Boulenger, 1888)
Common Name(s):
English Christmas Island Blue-tailed Shinning-skink
Synonym(s):
Ablepharus egeriae Boulenger, 1888

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Extinct in the Wild ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-02-20
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J., Cogger, H. & Mitchell, N.M, Emery, J.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Tognelli, M.
Justification:
The species was considered to be abundant in the 1970s, but it has undergone a decline in numbers. Many recent intensive surveys in the island, at appropriate times, seasons, and habitats have not recorded the species again. The last individual recorded in the wild was in August 2010. There is a successful captive breeding programme and the population is increasing in captivity. The species is therefore listed as Extinct in the Wild.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species was endemic to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Recent surveys in the island have not recorded the species, which was last reported in the wild in August 2010 (Andrew et al. 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Regionally extinct:
Christmas Island
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:0-1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species was considered to be abundant in the late 1970s. Declines were first reported in 1992 (Rumpff 1992) and it has subsequently undergone a dramatic decline in numbers.  From August 2009 as many individuals as possible were taken into captivity, a total of 64 animals, in order to develop a captive breeding programme (Andrew et al. 2016). It was last recorded in August 2010 (Andrew et al. 2016) and many recent intensive surveys in the island, at appropriate times, seasons, and habitats have not recorded the species again. There is a successful captive breeding programme and the population is increasing (Andrew et al. 2016).
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species was widely distributed in the island, inhabiting primary and secondary forests, open areas and degraded areas.
Systems:Terrestrial
Generation Length (years):3-4

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no evidence that this species is or was utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The main threat to this species was predation by the introduced Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus), which is presumed to have driven the species to near-extinction in the wild following its arrival on the island in around 1982; the majority of the remaining wild population was taken into captivity from 2009 and the wild population has apparently subsequently been lost. Secondary threats are likely to have existed from other exotic predators, including Yellow Crazy Ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes), feral cats, rats and an invasive centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes) (Andrew et al. 2016) - most of these species have, however, been established for a century or more and cannot be considered major drivers of the observed decline, while crazy ant populations are concentrated in coastal and near coastal areas. The captive population was infected by the Enterococcus virus, probably originating in Asia, however, this may not be a severe threat as the captive population is increasing.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed as critically endangered under the EPBC Act 1999. Approved conservation advice was  released in 2013. The Christmas Island National Park has initiated a captive breeding programme with the intention of reintroduction, and a secondary captive population was established at Taronga Zoo with a founder population of 83 individuals (Andrew et al. 2016). Reintroduction of this species to the wild is not feasible in the forseeable future, as it is not presently possible to eradicate Wolf Snakes and other exotic predators from Christmas Island. Trials are, however, underway to release captive animals into outdoor enclosures protected from these predators (J. Woinarski pers. comm. 2017). There is the intention to release this species in Cocos (Keeling) Islands (J.P. Emery pers. comm. 2017)

Citation: Woinarski, J., Cogger, H. & Mitchell, N.M, Emery, J. 2017. Cryptoblepharus egeriae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T102327291A102327566. . Downloaded on 14 December 2017.
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