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Echiopsis curta

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA ELAPIDAE

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

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Shine, R.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Justification:
Echiopsis curta has been assessed as Near Threatened. Although the Western Australian population of this species is considered not to be threatened, the species has been listed as threatened or rare in its disjunct populations in Southern Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The species is threatened by a number of factors in its eastern range, including habitat destruction caused by bush fires, agriculture and grazing, and it is thought that certain populations will go extinct unless these threats cease. Ambush predators such as this species appear to exhibit the most rapid population declines of Australian elapids, which makes this species even more vulnerable. Predation by foxes is also likely to be impacting the population numbers of this species. While there are no data on population decline, the species mallee habitat has significantly decreased over the years. As a result, the species is unlikely to survive without conservation action in the eastern parts of its range. Monitoring of the population numbers and habitat status of this species should be carried out to determine if E. curta is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the future if threats continue to impact it.
History:
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is an Australian endemic. It has a disjunct distribution, and is widespread throughout southwestern Western Australia. Its eastern distribution is smaller, and comprised of three disjunct and small populations: Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, southwestern New South Wales, and western Victoria (Shine 1982, Wilson and Swan 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The eastern populations of this species are considered 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).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits heaths and open scrubland, favouring mallee/spinifex associations. 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 amongst leaf litter under low-lying vegetation and is likely to be a sit-and-wait ambush predator (NSW Scientific Committee 2003).
Systems: Terrestrial

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). 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).

With the species thought to be an ambush predators, the above threats may have a particular devastating effect, as ambush predators are thought to undergo particularly rapid declines among the Australian elapid snakes (Reed and Shine 2002).

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 populations, which have been listed as "endangered" in New South Wales (NSW Scientific Committee 2003), "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 needed, particularly of the declining populations in New South Wales, which are likely to become extinct unless threats are eliminated (NSW Scientific Committee 2003).

Citation: Shine, R. 2010. Echiopsis curta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 August 2014.
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