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Oligosoma fallai

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA SCINCIDAE

Scientific Name: Oligosoma fallai
Species Authority: (McCann, 1955)
Common Name(s):
English Falla's Skink, Three Kings Skink
Synonym(s):
Leiolopisma fallai McCann, 1955
Lygosomella fallai (McCann, 1955)
Taxonomic Notes: Named after Sir Robert Falla (1901-1979), a prominent New Zealand naturalist (Gill and Whitaker 2001).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Chapple, D.G.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Justification:
The population of Oligosoma fallai has been described as stable and there are currently no introduced predators on the islands where this species occurs. However, due to the extremely small range of this species and the low number of localities this species is found in, an assessment of Vulnerable under criterion D2 has been made because of the possible future threat of invasive species. Monitoring for introduced predators is recommended as a conservation action.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the Three Kings Islands off the north coast of New Zealand (Towns and Daugherty 1994), north-west of Cape Reinga. The Three Kings Islands is a group of ten small islands, totalling 7.1 km² in area.  Three Kings Islands are considered to be one location based on the threat of catastrophic climatic events and predation by invasive species able to move between all the islands (Towns et al. 2002).

This species inhabits nine of the ten islands, namely Great Island, North East Island, West Island, Stella Rock, Hinemoa Rock, Archway Rock, Tutanekai Rock, Arbutus Rock and South West Island (Parrish and Gill 2003).

This species is listed as Range Restricted (Hitchmough et al. 2005).

Subfossil remains from Northland, suggested by Worthy (1991) as possibly from this species, were associated by size, and were not the result of definitive identification (D. Chapple pers. comm).
Countries:
Native:
New Zealand
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is described as relatively common by Neilson (2002). The species has been described as abundant on Great Island of the Three Kings Islands (de Lange et al. 1999), as abundant on the four largest islands of the Three Kings, as common to abundant on the Princes Islands (Parrish and Gill 2003), and as abundant throughout its range; it also still occupies its entire known historic range (Towns et al. 2002).

This species' population is listed as Stable (Hitchmough et al. 2005).

These skinks may reach densities of 10-13 per m² (Towns et al. 2002).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits forest areas, scrub and low-growing ground cover. It is found in semiarid habitats, including rocky slopes (Neilson 2002). The species has been recorded in pohutukawa forest, and in patches of pukanui-dominated low forest close to open scrub (Parrish and Gill 2003). The species was found to be scarce in kanuka forest and dense broadleaf forest (Parrish and Gill 2003).

This species is omnivorous and has been credited as helping to disperse the seeds of the endemic small tree Alectryon excelsus grandis (de Lange et al. 1999). This species may also feed on invertebrates and the spilled regurgitations of sea birds and will readily eat carrion (Towns et al. 2002).

This species is diurnal for much of the year, but can at times become nocturnal (G. Parrish pers. comm., Towns et al. 2002). It has a mean clutch size of 4.5 eggs (Parrish and Gill 2003), and young are born in January or February (Towns et al. 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The habitat on the largest of the Three Kings Islands, Great King (4.08 km²), was greatly altered during Maori habitation (Towns et al. 2002). Goats later introduced also modified the vegetation; however, these exotics were removed in 1946. Capture frequencies are much higher in scrub than in forest, indicating that numbers may be in decline somewhat on Great King Island as the forest continues to regenerate (Towns et al. 2002).

At present, there are no major threats to this species; however, predation by invasive species could become a major threat in the future if any colonize the islands. Towns et al. (2002) describe that the primary threats to this species are catastrophic climatic events and the colonisation of the islands by introduced predators. As the Three Kings Islands are separated by less than one kilometre, introduced predators such as Norway rats could swim between the islands once established on one of them (Towns et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The preferred management option for the next five years for this species includes the installation and maintenance of bait stations against rodents, as well as a survey of the skinks' distribution (Towns et al. 2002). Population monitoring is also recommended.

Citation: Chapple, D.G. 2010. Oligosoma fallai. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 July 2014.
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