Chamaesaura macrolepis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Cordylidae

Scientific Name: Chamaesaura macrolepis (Cope, 1862)
Common Name(s):
English Large-scaled Grass Lizard
Mancus macrolepis Cope, 1862
Taxonomic Notes: Until recently, Chamaesaura miopropus was treated as a northern subspecies of C. macrolepis (Broadley 1966, 1971; Broadley and Howell 1991; Branch 1998; Spawls et al. 2002). However, C. miopropus is geographically isolated (Angola, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Tanzania) and distinguished by the presence of vestigial forelimbs, which are absent in  C. macrolepis (Loveridge 1947, Broadley and Howell 1991, Haagner et al. 2000, Spawls et al. 2002, Broadley and Cotterill 2004). It should therefore be considered a valid species, such that C. macrolepis reverts to binomial status. A molecular analysis would be helpful in assessing the taxonomic status of isolated subpopulations of C. macrolepis, such as the one in the Chimanimani Mountains of Zimbabwe.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2013-05-16
Assessor(s): Bates, M.F.
Reviewer(s): Bauer, A.M.
A population reduction of over 20% in the last 18 years (three generations) is inferred from the transformation of large parts of the Grassland, Savanna and Indian Ocean Coastal Belt biomes, as is an associated decline in the taxon's area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and habitat quality [A2c]. This decline is expected to continue into the future. The species is close to being classified as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo), Swaziland and Zimbabwe. There are two isolated records in the north of Limpopo, one in the grasslands of the Soutpansberg range (2229DD, Jacobsen 1989) and the other in grassland/scrub at the edge of the Pietersburg Plateau (2329DB, Jacobsen 1995). A specimen (TM 39892) from Clewer (2529CC) in Mpumalanga represents an isolated population that was not recorded or plotted by Jacobsen (1989). The isolated relict subpopulation in Zimbabwe is restricted to the Chimanimani Mountains on the border with Mozambique (Broadley 1966). It is probably also found in southern Mozambique.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga); Swaziland; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:15648Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:245220
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:6-10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The most abundant reptile species (nearly 73% of specimens found) in dry grassland in Maputaland following fires (Bruton and Haacke 1980).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:5-10
All individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Occurs in the Savanna, Indian Ocean Coastal Belt and Grassland biomes. Found in grassland, especially rocky, grassy hillsides (Jacobsen 1989, Branch 1998). According to Bruton and Haacke (1980) it occurs in dry, open, sandy grasslands near the coast and on the Lebombo Mountains. Found from sea level to 900 m in KwaZulu-Natal (Bourquin 2004). The only specimen collected during Jacobsen's (1989) survey was found in a hollow in the soil under a rock.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):6

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known trade or subsistence use of this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threatened by transformation of land for crop farming and plantations, overgrazing by livestock, infrastructural development, frequent anthropogenic fires and use of pesticides. About 33% of the Savanna biome, in which most of its range is located, has been degraded or converted into cropland or forestry plantations (Le Roux 2002). Large parts of its habitat have been afforested and much of the remaining area is burnt once or twice a year (Jacobsen 1989). Fires make it difficult for populations to re-establish and are probably the reason why specimens are most often found on protected rocky hillsides (Jacobsen 1989). Jacobsen (1989: 563) was of the opinion that this species may be 'endangered', at least in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation organizations and legislating bodies should treat this species as Near Threatened and afford it the necessary protection. Draw up a Species Management Plan (BMP-S). Communicate with farmers and other locals, and educate them about conservation. Determine population numbers and exact ranges, as well as the status of available habitat. Monitor population trends and take note of the extent of mortalities due to fire. Identify potential protected areas and establish these where possible.

Citation: Bates, M.F. 2017. Chamaesaura macrolepis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T110159014A110322240. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
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