Graciliscincus shonae


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Graciliscincus shonae
Species Authority: Sadlier, 1986
Common Name(s):
English Gracile burrowing skink
French Scinque fouisseur gracile

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(i,ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-04-06
Assessor(s): Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A.
Reviewer(s): Tognelli, M. & Cox, N.A.
Graciliscincus shonae is listed as Vulnerable because it has a restricted distribution, it occurs in less than 10 locations, and there is continuing decline in its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and extent and quality of its habitat. Although it is found in seven small reserves, all are impacted by development and mining in surrounding areas as well as invasives. Much of the extent of occurrence is unprotected.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Graciliscincus shonae is endemic to Province Sud, New Caledonia. It is known from approximately eight locations across southern Grande Terre (northernmost locality is Mt Dzumac). It occurs at elevations between 150 and 900 m. The extent of occurrence is approximately 1,100 km² and the area of occupancy is estimated to be <500 km².

[Extent of occurrence was based on a crude measure of overall length times width of the most distant known locations (a rough measure of the line around the points), except for very widespread species where the published areas of the islands were taken. Area of occupancy is a contraction of that rough estimate for extent of occurrence based on where habitat remains.]


New Caledonia
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no quantitative data on population size and trends for this species. It is expected to have undergone a major reduction in area of occupancy and total population size as a consequence of the widespread clearance of closed forest habitat that has occurred for settlement, agriculture, logging and mining. Substantial areas of forest habitat have also been lost from recurrent wildfires in the adjacent maquis shrublands. These impacts are ongoing. This species is uncommon at all the localities it has been found.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits low to mid-elevation closed humid forests and montane forest. It is diurno-nocturnal, cryptozoic, and terrestrial. It shelters beneath logs, rocks and deep leaf litter, and in soil crevices. Usually forages in cover or in the open in low-light situations.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The greatest threat to this species is loss and fragmentation of habitat from clearance of closed forests (particularly by the rapidly expanding mining industry in the Grand Sud and Tontouta Valley area) and from wildfires in maquis shrublands damaging forest margins. Afforestation is a local threat in the Grand Sud.  High-density populations of introduced ungulates (deer and pigs) threaten habitat quality, particularly by damaging the litter layer and disrupting cover (such as rocks and logs). In low to mid-elevation forests the introduced ant Wasmannia auropunctata is expected to have an adverse impact. Introduced mammals (rodents and pigs) are potential predators. The combined impact of these threats will be greatest on isolated forest remnants and in some cases is expected to lead to local extirpation of skinks.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is protected in Province Nord under Code de l'environnement de la Province Nord (Délibération No. 306-2008/APN, 24 October 2008) and in Province Sud under Code de l'environnement de la Province Sud (Délibération No. 25-2009/APS, 20 March 2009). Graciliscincus shonae is present in Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue and a number of other reserves in the south including Mont Koghis, Forêt Cachée, Pic du Pins, Pic du Grand Kaori and Forêt Nord. No active conservation management is being undertaken.

Bibliography [top]

Bauer, A.M. and Sadlier, R.A. 2000. The Herpetofauna of New Caledonia. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Jourdan, H., Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2000. Premières observations sur les conséquences de l’invasion de Wasmannia auropunctata 1863 (Roger) sur les prédateurs supérieurs dans les écosystèmes Néo-calédoniens. Actes des collectes insectes sociaux 13: 121-126.

Jourdan, H., Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2001. Little Fire Ant Invasion (Wasmannia auropunctata) as a Threat to New Caledonian Lizards: Evidences from a Sclerophyll Forest (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 38(3A): 283-301.

Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2002. The scincid lizard Graciliscincus shonae (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific: a review of the species’ morphology, distribution and conservation status. Zoologia Neocaledonica 5, Mémoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle 187: 269-276.

Citation: Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A. 2013. Graciliscincus shonae. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 31 March 2015.
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