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Diploglossus montisserrati 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Anguidae

Scientific Name: Diploglossus montisserrati
Species Authority: Underwood, 1964
Common Name(s):
English Montserrat Galliwasp

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-07-20
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 has an extremely restricted known range in an area of Montserrat exposed to both anthropogenic threats and volcanic activity. It is likely to have been historically more widespread, but extensive targeted searches since its rediscovery, including interviews with local residents, indicate that it is probably now restricted to an area of Woodland Springs with a surviving patch of good-quality secondary forest. Pressures on the lizard's remaining habitat exist from agricultural expansion, and the apparent extreme rarity and likely low size of the remnant population is likely to render it susceptible to predation from several exotic mammal species found on the island.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Montserrat, known only from the vicinity of the type locality at Woodland Spring, occurring at near 180 m asl (Henderson and Powell 2009). Targeted surveys conducted 20 years ago across the island failed to record this species elsewhere or local knowledge of the lizard; local people were only familiar with the species close to this locality. More recent surveys by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in the last 5-6 years have only found it close to the type locality. Historically it might have been more widespread as the known locality is ecologically similar to the remainder of the Central Hills, however recent volcanic activity may present barriers to dispersal and the failure to record it elsewhere indicates that it may be restricted to the area around Woodland Springs (J. Daltry pers. comm. 2015), Durrell researchers calculated the minimum convex polygon encompassing the known records as 12.9 ha (Corry et al. 2010); this includes unconfirmed sightings from Woodlands Beach, with all remaining records from a much smaller area. It is thought likely that the species was historically considerably more widespread in the island's broadleaved forest zone (Corry et al. 2010).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Montserrat
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:This species was not collected between its description and 2006 (Ogrodowczyk et al. 2006). Including photographs, only 11 confirmed sightings of different individuals exist; from 1983 until the present, all sightings have been within an area of 1.5 ha (Corry et al. 2010). The current population trend is unknown (Corry et al. 2010).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This semifossorial species is found in mesophilic habitats under rocks and in roots of trees (Henderson and Powell 2009). The Woodland Springs locality is characterized by moist evergreen forest, with some nonnative vegetation but good canopy cover (J. Daltry pers. comm. 2015). It has been sighted in gardens immediately adjacent to the remnant forest (Corey et al. 2010). It is reportedly found in association with streams (Corry et al. 2010). Galliwasps include both oviparous and viviparous species; the reproductive mode of Diploglossus montisserrati is unknown.
Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Construction at the edge of the volcanic flow zone is a threat to this area and may impact this lizard; Woodland Springs is a residential area and construction is ongoing to this day (Corry et al. 2010). Although its habitat requirements are unknown, it has only reliably been recorded from moderately undisturbed forest. Montserrat's forest more widely is heavily impacted for plantations and other exotic vegetation, and only secondary forest remains across much of the island. Invasive species, including feral pigs, cats, rats and dogs are all likely threats, and considered by Corry et al. (2010) the most important immediate risk to the continued survival of this species, and cane toads are known to be present at Woodland Springs (Corry et al. 2010). If the population is a remnant of a formerly more widespread species on this island, its proximity to an active volcano may expose it to declines or indirect impacts to its habitat from stochastic events (J. Daltry pers, comm. 2015, Corry et al. 2010). The limited available evidence suggests that this species may be stream-associated, and so may be at risk from capping streams for water abstraction; this practice may also impact the quality of its moist forest habitat (Corry et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Durrell produced a species action plan for this lizard in 2010, and repeated targeted searches have been undertaken since 2010. Removal of invasive species from the species' known range is recommended, and the existing Species Action Plan proposes fencing off the known distribution to prevent re-invasion (Corry et al. 2010). Unlike most of Montserrat's reptiles the species is not included in Montserrat's conservation legislation, "apparently in error" (Corry et al. 2010), and most sightings fall outside the boundary of the Centre Hills private reserve (Corry et al. 2010).

Citation: Daltry, J.C. 2016. Diploglossus montisserrati. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T6638A71739597. . Downloaded on 10 December 2016.
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