Emoia adspersa 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Emoia adspersa
Species Authority: (Steindachner, 1870)
Common Name(s):
English Micronesian Skink, Steindachner's Emo Skink
Eumeces adspersus Steindachner, 1870
Eumeces microlepis Fischer, 1886
Euprepes parvisquameus Peters, 1874

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-09-12
Assessor(s): Allison, A., Hamilton, A., Austin, C.M. & Fisher, R.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & 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.
Emoia adspersa has been assessed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence is approximately 3,000 km², it is believed to occur as a severely fragmented population in the major part of its range, there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat and area of occupancy as a result of deforestation and invasive species, and it is likely that there is a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals as a result of predation by alien invasive species.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known from three islands (the two main islands Savai'i and Upolu, and the smaller island Nu'ulua) in Samoa, as well as from three small islands northeast and northwest of the Samoa group, and one to the southwest (Niuafo'ou in Tonga - Gill et al. 1994). The northern islands are Swain's Island (administered by American Samoa) and Nukunono in the Tokelau group (New Zealand) and Funafuti Island (Tuvalu - Gilll 1993). No recent records exist from Tuvalu, or from Tonga more recent than those reported by Gill et al. (1994). The species is expected to be extant in Tonga (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013), but its status in Tuvalu is uncertain and reports of the recent disruption of natural systems by invasive ants in Tokelau (Lester and Tavite 2004, McNatty et al. 2009) suggest the species is likely to be extinct on Nukunono (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). This species is also known to occur in Wallis and Futuna (Adler et al. 1995), but again no recent records exist and the species' status here is unclear (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). It is also known from Pukapuka Island of the Danger group (Cook Islands), but extensive surveys by G. McCormack (over six weeks in 2004) have not been able to confirm that the species is still extant here (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). It is a coastal species found at low elevations.

The area in which this species is distributed is approximately 3,071 km². This has been calculated by taking the sum of the areas of each of the islands it inhabits.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa (American Samoa, American Samoa, Swains Is.); Cook Islands (Cook Is.); Samoa; Tokelau; Wallis and Futuna
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:3071
Number of Locations:8
Lower elevation limit (metres):1
Upper elevation limit (metres):10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is considered uncommon (Gill 1993). The species appears to have been lost from most of Savai'i in Samoa following the introduction of yellow crazy ants, with fragmentary remnant subpopulations surviving only in coastal areas and highlands above 500 m asl. (R. Fisher unpubl. data). Savai'i has an area of 1,694 km2, well in excess of 50% of the species' estimated extent of occurrence, and as the Savai'i subpopulation is now restricted to heavily fragmented remnants the global population is considered to be severely fragmented. It is widespread on Swain's Island, but was not found to be common in a recent survey (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This lizard is terrestrial in littoral forest areas, including holes in coral sand substrate at the base of breadfruit trees (Brown 1991). It will climb into the lower parts of trees (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2012). Three records exist from inland areas in higher-elevation forest, but the species appears to be rare away from coastal areas, possibly as a consequence of cat predation (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). It appears to be "doing well" in restored mangroves in Samoa, and has been reported from a seawall near the town of Apia as recently as 2012 (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no trade in this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Introduced predators, particularly yellow crazy ants, have been documented to have adverse effects on this species in Samoa (R. Fisher unpubl. data). Recent data suggests that this invasive species is responsible for the disappearance of the Micronesian Skink from most lowland areas (below 500 m) on Savai'i, the largest of the Samoan islands and the major part of the skink's range (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2012). The introduction of yellow crazy ants to Tokelau has disrupted the ecology of this region, and the skink may now be extinct on Nukunono (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). Some degree of population recovery has been observed on Nu'ulua following the removal of rats (R. Fisher unpubl. data). Cats and foraging pigs are also likely to prey on skinks (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2012).
High rates of deforestation are still occurring on many of the Pacific Islands in which the species is or has been found. In Samoa, 2,500 ha of forest was lost annually (out of 104,790 ha total forested area) between 1980 and 1995 (Rosillo-Calle and Woods 2003). While this species is unlikely to be at risk from agricultural expansion into areas of inland forest, destruction of mangroves is likely to be a significant threat (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). Mangrove restoration is however ongoing at some sites in Samoa and this species appears to adapt well to these replanted habitats (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013), which may mitigate the impacts of habitat destruction.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Conservation measures, such as the establishment and management of protected areas, are required to reduce the rate of habitat loss due to deforestation and to reduce the impact that introduced species are having on native species in the Pacific Islands. Removal of introduced rats from one small island within this lizard's range appears to have had a beneficial effect; this situation should be monitored and control measures implemented in other areas where feasible. Further research into and monitoring of the population of this species should also be carried out. The species is presumably present in some protected areas.

Citation: Allison, A., Hamilton, A., Austin, C.M. & Fisher, R. 2013. Emoia adspersa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T178217A1527142. . Downloaded on 29 March 2017.
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