Celatiscincus similis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Celatiscincus similis
Species Authority: Sadlier, Smith & Bauer, 2006
Common Name(s):
English Northern Pale-hipped Skink
French Scinque aux Hanches Pâles du Nord

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-09-07
Assessor(s): Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A.
Reviewer(s): Tognelli, M. & Cox, N.A.
Celatiscincus similis is listed as Endangered because it has a restricted distribution and there is continuing decline in its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy and the extent and quality of its habitat. The population on the Taom massif is exposed to a high level of risk from nickel mining and the populations at lower elevation are at risk to habitat clearance and damage from wildfires. All populations are under threat from invasive species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Province Nord, New Caledonia. It is known from four localities representing two widely-separated sub-populations in the north of Grande Terre. Two of these localities are on the northeast coast north of Hienghène (Ouaïème and Tao) and two on the northwest coast north of Voh (Síba and Mt Taom). It occurs at elevations of up to 1,000 m. The extent of occurrence is approximately 650 km² and the area of occupancy is estimated to be <100 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 data on population size and trends for this species. At low elevations it is assumed to have undergone a reduction in the area of occupation as a result of past habitat destruction through clearance for farming or associated with mining. Mining will also have destroyed significant areas of habitat on the summit of Taom. The species has not been recorded at either of the east coast sites since the original observations but is not uncommon at the high-elevation site on Mt Taom.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in closed forests at low elevations and, at high elevations (Mt Taom), it has been found in montane forest and maquis shrubland. It is diurnal, terrestrial and active in sunlight. It shelters beneath litter and stones, and basks and forages in light-gaps.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The western populations of Celatiscincus similis are under threat of habitat loss as a result of the expanding nickel mine on the summit of Taom and the sporadic nickel mining that occurs at lower-elevations in the vicinity of Tinip. The populations in the east may be at risk to forest clearance for agriculture. Wildfires in adjacent savanna or maquis shrublands are a recurrent threat to forest margins, particularly at lower elevations. There is ongoing habitat degradation from introduced ungulates (deer and pigs) leading to an opening of the forest structure, damage to the litter layer and lowered humidity regimes.  The introduced ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, is expected to have a detrimental impact on the skinks in low to mid-elevation forests (Jourdan et al. 2000, 2001). Introduced mammals (rodents and cats) are expected to exert a predation pressure.

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). It is not known to occur in any reserves but the Tao population may extend to the adjoining Réserve de Nature Sauvage du Mont Panié. No conservation management is currently 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: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (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., Smith, S.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2006. A New Genus for the New Caledonian Scincid Lizard Lygosoma euryotis Werner, 1909, and the Description of a New Species. Records of the Australian Museum 58: 19-28.

Citation: Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A. 2013. Celatiscincus similis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
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