Mesaspis moreletii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Mesaspis moreletii
Species Authority: Bocourt, 1871
Common Name(s):
English Morelet's Alligator Lizard
Barisia moreletii subspecies rafaeli (Hartweg & Tihen, 1946)
Barisia moreletii subspecies temporalis (Hartweg & Tihen, 1946)
Gerrhonotus fulvus (Bocourt, 1871)
Gerrhonotus moreletii (Bocourt, 1871)
Gerrhonotus moreletii subspecies rafaeli Hartweg & Tihen, 1946
Gerrhonotus moreletii subspecies temporalis Hartweg & Tihen, 1946
Taxonomic Notes: This species has five subspecies:
M. moreletii moreletii Bocourt, 1871
M. moreletii fulvus Bocourt, 1871
M. moreletii rafaeli (Hartweg & Tihen, 1946)
M. moreletii salvadorensis (Hartweg & Tihen, 1946)
M. moreletii temporalis (Hartweg & Tihen, 1946)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-05-12
Assessor(s): Ariano-Sánchez, D., Sunyer, J. & Veselý, M.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
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.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bowles, P.
Mesaspis moreletii has been assessed as Least Concern. This species has a moderately wide distribution from southern Mexico to northern Nicaragua, and although this species may be impacted by habitat degradation, this is likely to be a localized threat only. Furthermore, this species has been described as common with stable populations. However, further research should be carried out as localized threats may become more widespread.
2010 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Range extends from southern Mexico to northern Nicaragua. In Honduras, this species is widespread in the southeast, southwest, Ocote, and northwest highlands (Wilson and McCranie 2003). It is known from a single locality in Nicaragua, Cerro Kilambe Nature Reserve, where it was recently reported for the first time (Sunyer and Köhler 2007), and so it may be more widespread in that country. Elevational range extends from 1,305 to 3,060 meters (Sunyer and Köhler 2007, Wilson and Johnson 2010).
El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: According to Wilson and McCranie (2003), this species is common and has a stable population. It is locally abundant in degraded forest in Sierra de los Cuchumatanes in Guatemala (Ariano et al. 2011), and three specimens were collected from the Nicaraguan locality in 2006 (Sunyer and Köhler 2007).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This diurnal, semi-arboreal species inhabits pine-oak forest and cloud forest. Well-established populations of this species have also been found in places partly disturbed by clearings; a preference for sunny patches for basking and better food availability may explain the higher densities of young found in those places (M. Vesely pers. comm. 2012). This viviparous lizard has been recorded from primary forest at the Nicaraguan locality, where one specimen was collected at approximately 1 m high on a tree trunk. Although this species has been recorded from degraded forest in Guatemala, it does not occur in deforested areas or completely open habitats (D. Ariano pers. comm. 2012).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is some exploitation for the international pet trade, but this is at a very small scale (D. Ariano, J. Sunyer pers. comm. 2012).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is likely to be impacted by habitat degradation. The pine-oak forests of Central America are being degraded due to human pressures from extensive logging and clearing for agricultural and urban expansion. Fires are likely to threaten the lizard at low elevations (D. Ariano pers. comm. 2012). This is likely to be a localized threat, however, as it has been reported that considerable amounts of this habitat are still intact in Honduras (WWF 2001). This species occurs in a protected area in El Salvador, but this preserves forest in only the periphery of its Salvadoran range.

Some populations in smaller and isolated highland forests could be locally endangered by habitat degradation (M. Vesely pers. comm. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. This species occurs within several protected areas within its range. Further research is needed on the distribution and habitat status of this species.

Citation: Ariano-Sánchez, D., Sunyer, J. & Veselý, M. 2013. Mesaspis moreletii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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