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Leiolopisma alazon

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA SCINCIDAE

Scientific Name: Leiolopisma alazon
Species Authority: Zug, 1985
Common Name(s):
English Ono-i-Lau Ground Skink, Lauan Ground Skink

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-09-13
Assessor(s): Fisher, R., Hamilton, A., Allison, A. & Tallowin, O.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & Bowles, P.
Justification:
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.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: 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.
Countries:
Native:
Fiji
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: 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.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a diurnal species that occurs in closed canopy forest, and is found beneath rotten logs, rocks or leaf litter on the forest floor (Morrison 2003).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not traded or in use.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: 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.

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Morrison, C. 2003. A Field Guide to the Herpetofauna of Fiji. Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.

Zug, G.R. 1985. A new skink (Reptilia: Sauria: Leiolopisma) from Fiji. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 98(1): 221-231.

Zug, G.R. 1991. The lizards of Fiji: natural history and systematics. Bishop Museum Bulletins in Zoology 2: 1-136.


Citation: Fisher, R., Hamilton, A., Allison, A. & Tallowin, O. 2013. Leiolopisma alazon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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