Pholidoscelis major 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Teiidae

Scientific Name: Pholidoscelis major (Duméril & Bibron, 1839)
Common Name(s):
English Martinique Ameiva, Martinique Giant Ameiva
Ameiva major Duméril & Bibron, 1839
Taxonomic Source(s): Harvey, M.B., Ugueto, G.N. and Gutberlet Jr., R.L. 2012. Review of Teiid morphology with a revised taxonomy and phylogeny of the Teiidae (Lepidosauria: Squamata). Zootaxa 3459: 1-156.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2015-07-23
Assessor(s): Dewynter, M. & Powell, R.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Hedges, B. & Hanson, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): NatureServe
Listed as Data Deficient on the basis that, while this species was considered extinct as long ago as 1935 and is widely treated as such in recent literature, its true distribution is a matter of informed speculation and until Breuil (2002) was widely believed to be on Martinique, an island where this species almost certainly never occurred. As this author was the first to propose a plausible, specific source of origin for the lizard, targeted surveys have not been possible to confirm beyond reasonable doubt that it is now extinct, and a specimen accessioned in 1965 without a collection date may represent a more recent collection than those reported in the historical literature.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species was once thought to have occurred in Martinique (Baskin and Williams 1966), but more recently believed to have been endemic to Les Iles de la Petite Terre, Guadeloupe (see extensive discussion in Breuil 2002) following the discovery of archive correspondence referring to the collection of this species on these islands. This has subsequently been accepted (Henderson and Powell 2009). The type locality is very unclear; it is given as Cayenne, but this is assumed to be in error (Uetz and Hallerman 2015). An additional specimen has the locality "Trinite", whose identity is uncertain. Historically this has been assumed to be Trinidad, and the locality may have represented a transit point rather than the species' native range (Breuil 2002). The species was named in the first published checklist of Trinidadian reptiles published in 1858, suggesting that the species may have been confused with the native Ameiva atrigularis (J. Murphy pers. comm. 2015). Recently J. Murphy has compared the diagnostic characters of Pholidoscelis major, A. atrigularis, and the extinct P. cineraceus from Grand Ilet, and concludes that A. major is a good species that was "definitely not" from Trinidad or Tobago, and is probably more closely-related to P. cineraceus than to any extant species (J. Murphy pers. comm. 2015).
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The collection date for the two specimens reported in historical literature was before 1825, when the first correspondence referring to this species was dated. It has never been recorded since on any of the islands proposed as the type locality (Breuil 2002). This author located two specimens in the Paris Museum, and an additional one that was given to the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1965; this latter has no associated locality data or date of collection, and Breuil (2002) reported that the 19th Century literature made no reference to a third specimen. Parker (1935), who first suggested that the species may have been native to Guadeloupe, considered that it was extinct; later authors who believed the species to occur on Martinique reached the same conclusion (Baskin and Williams 1966).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:There is no information about the habitats or ecology of this species (Henderson and Powell 2009).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no use of or trade in this species, which is thought to be extinct.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Nothing is known of any threats to this species, as its distribution is inferred wholly from interpretations in recent and historical literature. If, as suspected, it is extinct, the causes of extinction are unclear. Les Iles de la Petite Terre are free of mongoose, an invasive species responsible for extinctions and declines in related species in the Caribbean.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are possible for this species, which may not have been recorded for almost 200 years and whose distribution is unknown.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: This species was previously treated on the Red List under the genus Ameiva, but it is now placed under Pholidoscelis following Goicoechea et al. (2016), hence the need for this amended assessment. The text has been updated to reflect the generic change.

Citation: Dewynter, M. & Powell, R. 2017. Pholidoscelis major (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T1120A121642128. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
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