Aprasia aurita 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Pygopodidae

Scientific Name: Aprasia aurita Kluge, 1974
Common Name(s):
English Eared Worm-lizard

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-06-13
Assessor(s): Clemann, N. & Robertson, P.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Hutchinson, M. & Shea, G.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Chanson, J.S., De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Powney, G., Wilson, P.
Listed as Near Threatened because it has an area of occupancy less than 500 km2 and is known from only five localities, each of which is likely to represent a single location defined by potential but poorly-understood threats including weed invasion. The species is, however, fully confined to conservation reserves and identified ongoing threats appear to be localized. The species therefore does not fully qualify for listing in a threatened category applying criterion B2. Further research is required to confirm that this species is not more threatened than presently recognized.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This Australian species is known from northwestern Victoria and far southeastern South Australia. The species was previously believed to be restricted to a small number of localities in the Wathe State Reserve (Backhouse and Robertson 1992, Cogger et al. 1993); subsequently it has been found in "a small area south of Murrayville" (Hutchinson et al. 2007, citing P. Robertson pers. comm.). Hutchinson et al. (2007) reported two specimens from South Australia. Although one of these is a misidentified museum specimen of Aprasia striolata, the other - taken in a survey north of Millicent - is a valid record. The area between the known localities has been moderately well-surveyed over several decades, without recording this species, and it is possible that the extant distribution is relictual (Hutchinson et al. 2007).

The species is known from five localities: Wathe Reserve, the southeastern and northern corners of the Big Desert (a well-surveyed region in which the species has never been recorded elsewhere - N. Clemann pers. comm. 2017), and the Paradise Flora and Fauna Reserve and Millicent in South Australia (in both of which the species has a restricted distribution - N. Clemann pers. comm. 2017), with a combined area of around 250 km2 (P. Robertson pers. comm. 2017).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (South Australia, Victoria)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:500
Number of Locations:5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Within its restricted distribution this is a relatively common species. Threats are poorly-understood and the population status is consequently unclear. Hutchinson et al. (2007) suggested that the species may not be declining, based on their suggestion that it may have broader habitat tolerances than previously understood, but this suggestion was based on two specimens - one of which was later determined to be misidentified - and requires confirmation.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Records of this species from Victoria and from South Australia are from different habitats, which resemble one another only in possessing a shrubby understorey layer over soft sand (Hutchinson et al. 2007). In Victoria, this species is only found in temperate mallee woodlands and shrublands on sandy soil and sandy loam (Wells 2007). South Australian records are from cooler, less arid eucalypt woodland (Hutchinson et al. 2007). Aprasia are burrowing lizards, and this species may feed exclusively on ant pupae (Cogger 2014, Hutchinson et al. 2007).  Hutchinson et al. (2007) suggest that known records of this species may be relictual, and that the habitats where it has been found may therefore not reflect its typical habitat preferences, particularly if it has been lost from wide areas of typical natural habitat. Hutchinson et al. (2007) suggest that, despite its rarity, it may have broader ecological tolerances than the more widespread Aprasia striolata and A. inaurita, however, evidence from Victoria - where A. inaurita is both found in sympatry with A. aurita on loamy soils and is more widespread in sandy desert - does not support this hypothesis (P. Robertson pers. comm. 2017).

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Large areas of this species' former range have been cleared for agricultural use and development. Invasive plant and animal species may also threaten this species' habitat, however, both the identity and impact of any major ongoing threats are unknown (P. Robertson pers. comm. 2017). Firebreaks being bulldozed through protected areas represent a localized threat to one Victorian subpopulation (N. Clemann pers. comm. 2017). The species does not appear to be sensitive to the present fire regimes at the known localities (P. Robertson pers. comm. 2017).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Australia this species has protected status and has recently been downgraded to Vulnerable in Victoria. Management and conservation plans have been developed and the only known subpopulation of this species in Victoria is within protected land. Further research into conservation measures, threats, habitat and population trends of the species are suggested, as is population and habitat monitoring. Continued conservation management is likely to be necessary to ensure the survival of this species, as although it is not clearly subject to major threats at present all known sites lie within protected areas in a heavily modified landscape.

Citation: Clemann, N. & Robertson, P. 2017. Aprasia aurita. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T1920A79026130. . Downloaded on 19 July 2018.
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