Rhineura floridana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Rhineuridae

Scientific Name: Rhineura floridana (Baird, 1858)
Common Name(s):
English Florida Worm Lizard
Taxonomic Notes: MtDNA data suggest an ancient divergence between populations in the north-central Florida peninsula and populations in the south-central peninsula; high genetic distances exist within south-central populations, whereas genetic structure within northern populations is less discrete and characterized by much shallower divergences (Mulvaney et al. 2005). These findings suggest that south-central populations may be candidates for taxonomic recognition (or recognition as distinct management units) if confirmed by additional genetic and morphological data (Mulvaney et al. 2005).

This species formerly was included in the family Amphisbaenidae. Most recent studies recognize four families within Amphisbaenia, with Rhineura floridana as the sole living member of the family Rhineuridae (Kearney 2003). A molecular phylogenetic analysis supports this arrangement (Macey et al. 2004).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the southeastern United States. Its range includes northern and central Florida and a small part of Georgia, encompassing a total of 28 Florida counties from Highlands County in the south-central Florida peninsula north to Lanier County, Georgia (Jensen and Payne 1996, Mulvaney et al. 2005). The distribution in Georgia includes only one known location (Mulvaney et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is known from 510 localities (Mulvaney et al. 2005). These represent a much smaller number of distinct populations (but probably at least 100) (see map in Mulvaney et al. 2005). The total adult population size is unknown and would be very difficult to determine due to the worm lizard's fossorial habits. However, the species is probably not rare (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999) and probably exceeds 10,000 adults.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitats include sandy, easily burrowed soils (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999), such as dry upland hammocks and sand pine and longleaf pine-turkey oak sandhills (Ashton and Ashton 1985). The species is fossorial but may come above ground in September-October (Ashton and Ashton 1985). Worm lizards often are just beneath a leaf-mold layer in well-drained sandy soil, but reportedly they also can be common in ploughed fields (Carr and Goin 1955). Eggs are laid underground.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Loss and degradation of habitat as a result of human activities (e.g., agriculture, residential and commercial development) probably are the most significant threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in at least several protected areas.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Rhineura floridana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T64219A12754148. . Downloaded on 16 July 2018.
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