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Cnemidophorus vanzoi 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Teiidae

Scientific Name: Cnemidophorus vanzoi
Species Authority: (Baskin & Williams, 1966)
Common Name(s):
English Saint Lucian Whiptail, St Lucia Whiptail, Vanzo's Whiptail
Synonym(s):
Ameiva vanzoi Baskin & Williams, 1966
Taxonomic Source(s): Harvey, M.B., Ugueto, G.N. and Gutberlet Jr., R.L. 2012. Review of Teiid morphology with a revised taxonomy and phylogeny of the Teiidae (Lepidosauria: Squamata). Zootaxa 3459: 1-156.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B2ab(v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-07-22
Assessor(s): Daltry, J.C.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Hedges, B. & Hanson, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): NatureServe
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered on the basis that this species effectively represents a single, severely fragmented population, and is at continual risk from the possible introduction of invasive mammals to any or all of the four small islands where the species presently survives, which would lead to a projected decline in the number of mature individuals. Its overall area of occupancy is likely to be below 1 km2, but 4 km2 is used based on the recommended  2x2 km2 grid size. Continued conservation management, population monitoring and invasive species control are needed to guarantee the species persistence.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Maria Islands (which have a combined surface area of 12.2 ha), off the southern coast of Saint Lucia and successfully introduced (presumably reintroduced) to Praslin and Rat Islands also off the coast of Saint Lucia following eradication of rats (Daltry 2009). Historically it is thought likely to have occurred on Saint Lucia, but might have been lost as a result of mongoose introduction (Henderson and Powell 2009, J. Daltry and R. Powell pers. comm. 2015). This is a highly conspicuous species that would have been detected if it still existed on this island (J. Daltry pers. comm. 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Saint Lucia
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population - following reintroductions - was estimated at 2,349 individuals (mature and juveniles) in 2008-2009 (Daltry 2009), of which around half are likely to be adults (J. Daltry pers. comm. 2015). Further reintroductions are planned; the population may be slowly increasing as a result of introductions, but is undoubtedly far below historical levels if, as suspected, the species once occurred on Saint Lucia. Constant management is required to keep the islands pest free; rats, opossums and mongoose have re-invaded Praslin on several occasions, but been eradicated by island managers (J. Daltry pers. comm. 2015). The surviving natural subpopulations on the Maria Islands are genetically distinct, suggesting an absence of gene flow, and may not be viable without long-term intervention.
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in forest, forest edges, shrubs and scrub habitats (Henderson and Powell 2009).
Systems:Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Illegal trade in this species has been recorded in the European pet trade, conceivably at a level that could pose a threat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The leading hypothesis to explain the absence of this species from the mainland of Saint Lucia is the historical introduction of mongoose. Invasive species remain a serious threat to this species, as the offshore islands where it survives are close to the mainland and visited by day tourists from Saint Lucia. Rats, opossums and mongoose have re-invaded Praslin Island several times since the lizard was introduced, and long-term management is needed to ensure the continued viability of this population. Low genetic diversity is a threat to all subpopulations, especially on Maria Minor (Funk and Fa 2006), none of which contains more than several hundred individuals, and every subpopulation is susceptible to bush fires. The scale of illegal collection for the international pet trade is unknown, but may also threaten this species. Storm surges and sea level rise may be a threat to this species as climate change intensifies (Funk and Fa 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has been (re)introduced to Praslin and Rat Island, and an introduction is planned to Dennery Island. These subpopulations appear to have become established, but are dependent on conservation management to ensure that invasive mammals do not become established here. Efforts are underway to protect Praslin and Rat Islands, and visitor management is required. Management is contingent on continuing funding, which is not guaranteed, and on limited staff resources.

Citation: Daltry, J.C. 2016. Cnemidophorus vanzoi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T4997A71739552. . Downloaded on 08 December 2016.
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