Echiopsis curta 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Elapidae

Scientific Name: Echiopsis curta (Schlegel, 1837)
Common Name(s):
English Bardick
Naja curta Schlegel, 1843

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-02-20
Assessor(s): Lloyd, R., Cowan, M. & Sanderson, C.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Woods, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bowles, P., De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Powney, G.
Listed as Least Concern on the basis that this species is widespread and can be common across a large part of its range. Nevertheless, this species occurs in small and isolated subpopulations throughout the eastern part of the range, most of which are at varying degrees of risk from multiple impacts, and it is a priority for conservation attention in these areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is an Australian endemic. It has a disjunct distribution between eastern and western parts of the range, and is widespread throughout southwestern Western Australia. The eastern distribution is smaller, and comprised of four disjunct and small populations: the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, southwestern New South Wales, and western Victoria (Shine 1982, Wilson and Swan 2008), and a very recent record collected in the Nullarbor (R. Lloyd unpubl. data 2017).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The eastern subpopulations of this species are considered to be under threat (Annable 1996) and appear to have declined dramatically in places. In New South Wales, the population is considered extremely small, due to a lack of sightings over a period of fourteen years despite extensive biodiversity surveys (NSW Scientific Committee 2003). The species appears to be uncommon within its Victorian range, where intensive surveys in major reserves over many years have recorded only a few individuals (N. Clemann and P. Robertson pers. comm. 2017). According to Bush et al. (2010) this species is scarce on the Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia. In Western Australia the distribution is patchy but the species can be common, and has been collected in heavily-developed suburban areas (M. Cowan pers. comm. 2017).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits heaths and open scrubland, favouring mallee-spinifex associations in the east. In Western Australia it occurs in sandy and coastal heath and woodlands and along the edge of jarrah forest, but it doesn't appear to penetrate into closed forest. In the eastern part of its range, the species seems to be dependent on mallee and Triodia hummock grass (Robertson et al. 1989, Cogger et al. 1993). It often shelters among leaf litter under low-lying vegetation and logs, and is presumed to be a sit-and-wait ambush predator (NSW Scientific Committee 2003). It is a nocturnal species that feeds on a variety of prey species including lizards, frogs, birds, mammals and insects. Mating occurs late spring or early summer (October-November) and this species produces 8-10 live young a litter in March or April (Bush et al. 2010, Cogger 2014). Males mature on their second year of life (13 to 19 months of age) while females mature on their third year (32 months of age). They are most active in autumn and least active during winter months (Shine 1982).

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Victoria, clearance of mallee habitat for agriculture and grazing, together with inappropriate fire regimes and overgrazing by livestock, has greatly diminished the amount of habitat available to this species (Robertson et al. 1989). In Victoria and South Australia natural habitat is heavily degraded (C. Sanderson pers. comm. 2017). These factors are also thought to affect the species in the remainder of its eastern distribution (Cogger et al. 1993, Annable 1996). Predation by foxes may also be acting as a major threat to this species (NSW Government 2005). The impacts of these threats may be particularly severe as a result of this species' ecology; it is thought to be an ambush predator, and ambush predators are thought to be particularly prone to rapid declines among the Australian elapid snakes (Reed and Shine 2002).  This species is unlikely to be subject to major threats in Western Australia.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species was listed as Vulnerable at a national scale by Cogger et al. (1993) who drew up an action plan for the species. However, most of the arguments for listing are based on the eastern subpopulations, which have been listed as Endangered in New South Wales (Mahon et al. 2011), Vulnerable in Victoria (Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment 2007), and Rare in Southern Australia (Wilson and Swan 2008). It is not considered threatened in Western Australia. Monitoring of the population numbers and habitat status of this species is nonetheless needed, particularly of the declining subpopulations in New South Wales, which are likely to become extinct unless threats are eliminated (NSW Scientific Committee 2003). This species occurs in Danggali Conservation park, South Australia (Cogger et al. 1993), and in major mallee reserves in Victoria (N. Clemann and P. Robertson pers. comm. 2017). Protected areas do not provide an effective safeguard against inappropriate fire regimes for this fire-sensitive species (N. Clemann and P. Robertson pers. comm. 2017).

Citation: Lloyd, R., Cowan, M. & Sanderson, C. 2017. Echiopsis curta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T7013A83451904. . Downloaded on 26 May 2018.
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