Oligosoma suteri 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Oligosoma suteri (Boulenger, 1906)
Common Name(s):
English Egg-laying Skink, Suter’s Skink
Leiolopisma suteri (Boulenger, 1906)
Lygosoma suteri Boulenger, 1906
Robbisaurus suteri (Boulenger, 1906)
Taxonomic Notes: This species is named after Henry Suter (1841-1918), a New Zealand conchologist (Gill and Whitaker, 2001).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern 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.
Oligosoma suteri has been assessed as Least Concern. This is due to its occurrence on 49 islands off the north coast of New Zealand, where extensive efforts have been made, or are scheduled to be made, by the Department of Conservation to remove introduced predators. This species seems to be responding positively to the extermination of its predators, with the population and distribution increasing.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known to inhabit the coasts of Northland, near the Cavalli Islands (Towns and Daugherty 1994). This species has been recorded on 49 islands around northern New Zealand (Towns et al. 2003). It is known to inhabit all ten of the Three Kings Islands, namely Great Island, North East Island, West Island, Stella Rock, Hinemoa Rock, Archway Rock, Tutanekai Rock, Arbutus Rock, Rosemary Rock and South West Island (Parrish and Gill 2003).

This species is listed as 'Range Restricted' due to human impacts (Hitchmough et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population of this species had been reduced to low densities due to introduced predators; however, after predator eradication campaigns in the early 1990s, the population was seen to be increasing (Towns and Daugherty 1994). This species is known to exist in densities of 1,483 - 130,000 individuals per ha (Towns et al. 2002), known to be locally abundant but becoming sparse in the presence of mammalian predators (Atlas of the Amphibians and Reptiles of New Zealand 2010).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits the coastal broadleaf forest and associated shoreline (Towns and Daugherty 1994). It can be found on boulder beaches, rock talus above boulder beaches, under rocks on rock platforms, and in boulder areas covered by vines along or near the coast (Parrish and Gill 2003). Populations are often isolated by expanses of unoccupied coastline (Towns et al. 2003).

On islands lacking predators, this species is found in the variety of coastal habitats described above, however, when predators are present, the skinks inhabit only boulder beaches, as the rock crevices provide refuges. These boulders may not permanently protect the skinks, though, as beach habitats are mobile and may temporarily fail as refugia (Towns et al. 2003).

This species is nocturnal (Towns and Daugherty 1994) and oviparous, with clutch sizes between two and five eggs (Hare et al. 2002) which are laid in December and hatch in March or April (Towns et al. 2002).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is known to respond positively to extermination of kiore, the Pacific rat. Capture rates of the skink increased 3.5 times within three years of rat removal on Coppermine Island, Chicken Islands (Atkinson and Towns 2001).

Predation and habitat change due to invasive species may threaten this species, however, as it is distributed across many islands, these threats are unlikely to have a major impact on the population. With eradication of invasive species already having led to an increase in range on at least ten islands (Towns et al. 2001), additional eradications for predators on other islands, both planned and confirmed, may potentially lead to substantial increases in the range and abundance of the species within many of the island groups occupied (Towns et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is not listed on any conservation priority lists of the Department of Conservation (Towns et al. 2002). It is assumed to be expanding in range on at least ten islands following the eradication of the Pacific rat, and the skinks' reintroduction to Korapuki Island (Towns et al. 2002). Additional predator removals are planned, such that there is potential for a substantial increase in distribution and abundance for the species (Towns et al. 2002). Population monitoring is recommended.

Citation: Chapple, D.G. 2010. Oligosoma suteri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T178624A7583457. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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