Fisher, R., Hamilton, A., Allison, A. & Tallowin, O.
Cox, N.A. & Bowles, P.
Listed as Critically Endangered because both its extent and occurrence and area of occupancy are below 2 km2, it occurs as a severely fragmented population, and there is continuing decline in the quality of its habitat and presumably in the number of mature individuals as a result of invasive alien species.
This species was probably widespread in Ono-I-Lau in the Lau group, Fiji, but now is restricted to three small islets with a combined land area of less than 2 km2 (Zug 1985; R. Fisher pers. obs.). It is only found up to around 5 m asl.
This species was probably widespread on Ono-i-Lau prior to the introduction of cats and pigs, but now is restricted to three small islets. It has only been recorded once since its original description, during surveys in 2011 (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). Due to the small size of the islets where the lizard is found, its population is considered severely fragmented.
The primary threats to this species are invasive species, and habitat loss linked to sea-level rise. Pigs and cats have been introduced to larger, nearby islands. Both Yellow Crazy Ants and rats are common and widespread throughout the islets where the skink occurs, and skinks appear to emerge from shelter sites only during times of day when ants are not active (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013). It occurs on islets less than 5 m in elevation and will lose habitat to sea level rise rapidly. Pigs seems to be the factor controlling its distribution, as the species is not found on the larger islands of the group with evidence of rooting by pigs (R. Fisher pers. comm. 2013).
No conservation measures are in place for this species. Research is needed on the systematics of this complex to determine how the three island subpopulations are related to each other (although preliminary genetic evidence suggests the three islet subpopulations are conspecific - R. Fisher unpubl. data). Reintroduction onto larger islands, if pigs can be controlled, would be an important research project. The ex situ conservation of this species, possibly as insurance colonies, should be investigated.