Ctenotus lancelini 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Ctenotus lancelini Ford, 1969
Common Name(s):
English Lancelin Island Skink

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-02-21
Assessor(s): Gaikhorst, G., Lloyd, R. & Craig, M.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Harris, J.
Listed as Critically Endangered on the basis that this species is restricted to a single island with an area of 10 hectares, which is treated here as a single location defined by several ongoing pressures that are resulting in an ongoing decline in the quality of its habitat, and by a future threat from fire that could rapidly result in this species' extinction. There are, however, no recent surveys of the population and nothing is known of population trends, and the major ongoing cause of declining habitat quality is the loss of exfoliated rocks used as basking sites. Further research is needed to clarify whether this is a genuine threat and whether the population is declining, and may reveal that this species should be downlisted to Vulnerable based on a plausible future threat from fire.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is naturally found only on the low-elevation Lancelin Island, off the coast of Western Australia, and it has also been reported from the mainland directly opposite the island (Cogger 2014). Only one individual of the species has, however, been cited from the mainland (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2008) and subsequent work at this site has never recorded it here, suggesting it was either misreported or was an accidental introduction from the island (G. Gaikhorst pers. comm. 2017). As such it is considered here to be endemic to Lancelin. A subpopulation was translocated to Jurien Bay in the early 2000s as a conservation action. Its total known distribution covers an area less than 10 ha (Pearson and Jones 2000).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Western Australia)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:4
Number of Locations:1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Between October 1991 and March 1993 several surveys on Lancelin Island found only one individual, although Browne-Cooper and Maryan (1992) reported that it was previously reasonably common here. In 1994-95 the population was estimated at 3000 mature individuals (Pearson and Jones 2000); no more recent surveys have been carried out. B. Maryan and R. Lloyd (unpubl. data) found two in half an hour in August 2012, in an exposed area on the northern side of the island. Pearson and Jones (2000) estimated that 70% of mature individuals are female, with males being exceptionally rare in areas with the highest density of females.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in rocky areas in low shrubs and grasses on limestone (Browne-Cooper and Maryan 1992, Pearson and Jones 2000). It uses limestone slabs as shelter (Browne-Cooper and Maryan 1992). Some females bred during their second summer (Pearson and Jones 2000). It is typically found on exfoliated rocks, and encroachment by introduced weeds may therefore reduce habitat availability (Browne-Cooper and Maryan 1992). It shelters in seabird burrows.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Identified threats to this species include changes in habitat due to encroaching introduced weeds, declining native shrubs and disturbance caused by humans walking through habitat (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2008), which collapse the fragile seabird burrows this species uses as shelter sites. This latter pressure may have been reduced following construction of a boardwalk, but is unlikely to have been eliminated (R. Lloyd pers. comm. 2017). Possible additional threats include increased fire risk due to increases in exotic grasses (Cogger et al. 1993) and accidental fires resulting from increased human activities, as this is a popular tourist destination (Pearson and Jones 2009). Browne-Cooper and Maryan (1992) suggested that this species may be reliant on exfoliated rocks, the availability of which is strongly reduced by encroaching weeds, however more research is needed to confirm that this is a genuine association rather than simply the result of animals being easier to sample in these areas. Lancelin is a low-lying sand island; sea level rise could threaten this species through flooding and erosion within around 30 years (G. Shea pers. comm. 2017).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed as vulnerable in the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and in the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. It was the subject of the Lancelin Island Skink Recovery Plan, a five-year programme from 1999-2003 (Pearson and Jones 2000). This species' range is entirely encompassed within the Lancelin and Edwards Islands Nature Reserve. There are two separate ex situ breeding programmes held at Perth Zoo and WA Wildlife Research Centre (Pearson and Jones 2000). An ex situ population has now been established on a second island. Pearson and Jones (2009) recommend prohibiting the use of fire on this island. Research is needed to clarify the current population status of this species, as suggestions of decline are based on very limited data and may be partly or wholly attributable to a sampling artefact.

Citation: Gaikhorst, G., Lloyd, R. & Craig, M. 2017. Ctenotus lancelini. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T5861A101742822. . Downloaded on 18 December 2017.
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