Spondylurus monitae 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Spondylurus monitae Hedges & Conn, 2012
Common Name(s):
English Monito Skink
Taxonomic Source(s): Hedges, S.B. and Conn, C.E. 2012. A new skink fauna from Caribbean islands (Squamata, Mabuyidae, Mabuyinae). Zootaxa 3288: 1-244.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-08-13
Assessor(s): Hedges, B.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Listed as Critically Endangered on the basis that both its extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are below 0.15 km2, it is known only from a small island which represents a single location defined by an ongoing threat from human disturbance and a potential threat from invasive species, and there is a continuing decline in the quality of native vegetation on the island, presumed to represent the habitat of this species. It has been suggested that this species, which has not been recorded since 1993, might already be extinct.
Date last seen: 1993

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the limestone islet Monito, in Puerto Rico 5 km northwest of the larger island Mona (Hedges and Conn 2012). The occurrence of an endemic skink on this tiny islet, which has a land area of only 0.147 kmand a maximum elevation of 63 m, is "remarkable" (Hedges and Conn 2012), however morphological data suggest that it is not closely-related to the species found on nearby Mona (Hedges and Conn 2012) and so it does appear to be genuinely restricted to Monito.
Countries occurrence:
Puerto Rico
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is known from only seven museum specimens, collected in 1993, and an earlier sight record of a single animal reported by Rolle et al. (1964) presumed to be referable to Spondylurus monitae (Hedges and Conn 2012). Searches of museum collections for more recent specimens have been unsuccessful (Hedges and Conn 2012), but there are no data on the number of surveys conducted on Monito since 1993. Hedges and Conn (2012) raise the possibility that the species may be extinct, recommending that surveys be conducted to determine whether this is the case.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Nothing is known about the ecology of this species (Hedges and Conn 2012). Being so small, Monito supports a limited diversity of vegetation types and has been described as consisting of xeric scrub dominated by cacti, shrubs and stunted trees (Rolle et al. 1964). In common with other mabuyine skinks, it is presumed to be viviparous.

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): As with the larger island Mona, Monito is used as a point of entry to the US by Cuban and other immigrants, typically housing approximately a dozen people at any given time (Hedges and Conn 2012). This has resulted in disturbance to the natural vegetation that is exacerbated on Monito by its much smaller size and lower vegetation cover (Hedges and Conn 2012). These authors report that human disturbance on the island is at an "all time high", although note that the impacts on biodiversity are unknown. Increasing migration carries with it an elevated risk that exotic mammals, particularly black rats (which were formerly present, and implicated in declines in the gecko Sphaerodactylus micropithecus), could become established on Monito (Hedges and Conn 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Monito has no permanent human residents and is designated an ecological reserve by the Puerto Rican government (Hedges and Conn 2012). Black rats were eradicated from the island in the 1990s, however no measures appear to be in place to prevent their reintroduction or to limit the impacts of temporary human migrants (Hedges and Conn 2012). Surveys are needed to determine whether this species survives, and if so to evaluate its population status and the impacts of threats from disturbance to the native vegetation (Hedges and Conn 2012). Captive breeding for any surviving population may be required if evidence of population decline is found (Hedges and Conn 2012).

Citation: Hedges, B. 2013. Spondylurus monitae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T47103260A47103266. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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