Notechis scutatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Elapidae

Scientific Name: Notechis scutatus (Peters, 1861)
Common Name(s):
English Mainland Island Snake, Black Tiger Snake, Eastern Tiger Snake, Krefft's Tiger Snake, Western Tiger Snake
Hoplocephalus ater Krefft, 1866
Naja scutata Peters, 1861
Notechis ater (Krefft, 1866)
Notechis ater ssp. ater (Krefft, 1866)
Notechis scutatus ssp. ater (Krefft, 1866)
Notechis scutatus ssp. occidentalis Glauert, 1948
Notechis scutatus ssp. scutatus (Peters, 1861)
Taxonomic Notes: Several names included within this taxon are sometimes considered full species or subspecies. Notechis s. scutatus (southeastern Australia) and N. s. occidentalis (southwestern Western Australia) are both recognized as subspecies by Uetz (2017). Several additional names included within the synonymy of N. scutatus are considered subspecies by Cogger (2014): N. ater (Flinders Ranges), N. niger (Kangaroo Island and other offshore islands of South Australia), N. a. serventyi (Chappel Island, Furneaux Group, Bass Strait, Tasmania) and N. a. humphreysi (King and nearby islands, Bass Strait, Tasmania). Clarification of subspecific boundaries in this taxon is required (N. Clemann pers. comm. 2017).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2018
Date Assessed: 2017-06-12
Assessor(s): Michael, D., Clemann, N. & Robertson, P.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Chanson, J.S., De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Powney, G.
Notechis scutatus is listed as Least Concern owing to its relatively wide distribution, large population size, and because although it is subject to a wide range of localized impacts, these are not significant enough at the population level to result in declines sufficient to warrant listing this species in a more threatened category. Some subpopulations - sometimes treated as either subspecies or full species - are declining and may warrant specific protection and conservation management.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread but disjunctly distributed in southern Australia, in southeast Western Australia, south-eastern South Australia, south-eastern Queensland, highlands, central and southern New South Wales, much of Victoria, Tasmania and the islands of the Bass Strait (Wilson and Swan 2013, Cogger 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Population densities of this snake may be extremely high (Firmage and Shine 1996). The subpopulation in the Flinders Ranges is declining (Cogger et al 1993). There are a few isolated montane subpopulations in southern Queensland (Cogger 2014).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits water-associated areas such as riparian woodlands, closed forests, marshlands and watercourses. It also occurs in dry, open sclerophyll as well as dry rock areas and appears to thrive in areas of anthropogenic disturbance, particularly in mosaic habitats of grazing and patches of remnant bushland. It is occasionally arboreal. It is a flexible, generalist predator that feeds on frogs and small mammals (possum, bandicoot, antechinus, rats, mice), taking also fish (eel, trout), amphibians and bird hatchlings on certain islands. The species is recorded to be cannibalistic on King Island (Cogger 2014). It is primarily a diurnal and crepuscular species but is sometimes nocturnal in hot weather. Mating presumably occurs from December to April with two peak mating seasons (spring and autumn). The species is viviparous with 23 young on average (ranging from 17 up to 109 young) and it reproduces infrequently. A captive female was documented producing its first litter at 47 months of age. (Shine and Charles 1982, Shine 1977, Fearn et al. 2012, Cogger 2014).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is found in the pet trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Flinders Range subpopulation is threatened by overgrazing, clearance of habitat, soil erosion, water pollution, inappropriate fire regimes, and loss of food to trout, an introduced competitor (Cogger et al. 1993). This subpopulation occurs in Mount Remarkable National Park, South Australia. The Sydney region subpopulations have declined, presumably due to loss of habitat and food (Lunney et al. 2010).  These factors are not thought to constitute major threats to the species as a whole. Potential predators include cats, foxes and dogs that may result in high predation pressure in some subpopulations (Aubret et al. 2011). According to Bush et al. (2010) large-scale development on the Swan Coastal Plain wetlands, Western Australia, has reduced the numbers of this species considerably. The subpopulations on Garden and Carnac Islands are secure due to their isolated location. The invasion of poisonous Cane Toads may impact this species as anurans generally are an important part of the snake's diet (Phillips et al. 2003). Further research into the impacts of this species is needed, however, this is mostly a southern temperate snake and it is not likely to overlap significantly with the potential distribution of the Cane Toad. The subpopulation sometimes recognized as the distinct subspecies Notechis scutatus serventyi has a restricted range and is considered to be Vulnerable in Tasmania (Wilson and Swan 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species can be found within protected areas. Mirtschin and Davis (1985) point out that although the overall numbers of Notechis scutatus are likely to have been reduced drastically due to habitat alteration (river level control, replacement of stone walls by wire fences, drainage of lakes and swamps for farmland) but is still abundant in many areas (e.g. Melbourne region). Under the names N. ater ater and N. a. serventyi, subpopulations of this species are listed as Vulnerable by the Commonwealth government (N. a. ater) and the Tasmanian government (N. a. serventyi) (Wilson and Swan 2013).

Citation: Michael, D., Clemann, N. & Robertson, P. 2018. Notechis scutatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T169687A83767147. . Downloaded on 14 August 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided