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Gymnophthalmus pleii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA GYMNOPHTHALMIDAE

Scientific Name: Gymnophthalmus pleii
Species Authority: Bocourt, 1881
Common Name(s):
English Rough-scaled Worm Lizard
Synonym(s):
Gymnophthalmus pleei Bocourt, 1881 [orth. error]
Taxonomic Notes: There is some uncertainty concerning the correct spelling of the specific epithet for this species; the Reptile Database uses 'pleei', however, based on the ICZN rules it is argued that the original spelling of 'pleii' is what should be used (R. Powell and M. Breuil pers. comms.).

This species has three subspecies:
G. pleii pleii Bocourt, 1881
G. pleii luetkeni Bocourt, 1881
G. pleii nesydrion Thomas, 1965.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Ineich, I., Breuil, M., Hedges, S.B. & Powell, R.
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:
Gymnophthalmus pleii has been assessed as Endangered because it has an extent of occurrence of approximately 1,800 km² and occurs in five island locations threatened by the introduction of G. underwoodi. There is already a continuing decline on two of the islands in the number of mature individuals due to competition and hybridization with G. underwoodi. Habitat loss is also affecting the species, and may present declines in habitat quality on the islands not yet affected by G. underwoodi. Further research on the impact of G. underwoodi on G. pleii is required.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species inhabits Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, and both of the Maria Islands (Schwartz and Henderson 1991). The Maria Islands are a short distance east of the southern end of St. Lucia (Thomas 1965).

Three subspecies exist, with distributional information as follows (Thomas 1965):
  • G. pleii pleii: Martinique
  • G. p. luetkeni: St. Lucia
  • G. p. nesydrion: southern most of the Maria Islands
The Dominica populations have not been assigned to subspecies.

The area of the five islands combined is 1,837 km². This species is found between sea level and 400 m above sea level.
Countries:
Native:
Dominica; Martinique; Saint Lucia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for this species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is mesophilic, living in xeric woodlands on the hot slopes adjacent to ruins in Martinique, in sand dunes covered with Terminalia leaves and Coccoloba in St. Lucia, in Musa and Theobroma groves, ravines and cultivated areas, and in the northern grasslands and central wooded area of Maria Major (Schwartz and Henderson 1991). It has been found in leaf litter and under rocks (Schwartz and Henderson 1991). This species is most abundant in leaf litter in coastal areas but it is also found in sunny places in mesophilic situations. This species is also common in banana groves and on roadsides that cross dry forests (Breuil 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat to this species is the arrival of Gymnophthalmus underwoodi in Martinique which tends to eliminate this species. In Dominica, G. underwoodi is also present in the community which leads to competition and hybridization events occurring (Breuil 2009).

This species may also be threatened by habitat loss and degradation. The average annual change in forest cover for the period 1981-1990 has been estimated at -0.6% for Dominica, -0.3% for Guadeloupe, -0.4% for Martinique and -3.8% for St. Lucia (Tole 1998). The main causes of this are logging, tourism growth and recreation development.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species, however, the Islet Chancel in Martinique is protected by an 'arrêté de protection de biotope'. Further research of the impact that the spread of Gymnophthalmus underwoodi is having upon the population should be carried out, and population monitoring is recommended. Conservation measures, such as the expansion of protected areas, should be carried out to reduce the rate of habitat loss occurring within this species' range.

Citation: Ineich, I., Breuil, M., Hedges, S.B. & Powell, R. 2010. Gymnophthalmus pleii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 December 2014.
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