|Scientific Name:||Madascincus arenicola|
|Species Authority:||Miralles, Köhler, Glaw & Vences, 2011|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Molecular and morphological evidence indicates that this newly-discovered phenotype belongs to the "Madascincus polleni species complex", rendering M. polleni as defined by Miralles et al. (2011) paraphyletic with regard to this species and Madascincus stumpffi. It is treated here as a distinct species following Miralles et al. (2011), as it is morphologically distinct and strongly genetically divergent from the other three clades identified for this complex.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Critically Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Glaw, F. & Crottini, A.|
Listed as Critically Endangered on the basis that this species has a known extent of occurrence less than 60 km², the three known sites are considered to represent a single location on the basis of the shared threat from logging and agriculture, and there is a continuing decline in the quality and extent of this species' habitat. The distribution of this species is very poorly known, and future research may reveal that it is more widespread in which case it will require listing in a less threatened category.
|Range Description:||This skink is known only from a small area of northern Madagascar, where it has been recorded from Baie des Sakalava and Baie des Dunes in the Forêt d'Orangea region, and at an unnamed research site in the Ampombofofo region, all within Antsiranana Province (Miralles et al. 2011). The lizard's extent of occurrence based on these records is approximately 60 km². The three known sites are at 25 (Forêt d'Orangea) and 28 m (Ampombofofo) asl. It is probably somewhat more widespread to the south along the coast (F. Glaw pers. comm. March 2012).|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||There is no information on the population status of this species, which is known only from a small number of captures in pitfall traps. The known localities are very small and at opposite sides of a bay from one another, and the population is therefore considered to be severely fragmented.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||This species has never been observed in natural situations, as all records are from animals captured in pitfall traps set in sandy soil, where animals were captured overnight. From this it has been inferred that the species is fossorial or semi-fossorial during the day, but active on the surface nocturnally and so prone to falling into traps (Miralles et al. 2011). The assumption of diurnal fossoriality is supported by the observation that these skinks have an "excellent ability to quickly entrench themselves into the sand" (Miralles et al. 2011). All records are from disturbed secondary forest or scrub (Miralles et al. 2011). It occurs sympatrically with several other fossorial reptiles, including Madascincus polleni.|
|Major Threat(s):||Forest and shrubland in both Forêt d'Orangea and Ampombofofo is under pressure due to charcoal production and agricultural conversion, as well as (in Forêt d'Orangea) the harvesting of tubers. Although members of the M. polleni complex are tolerant of habitat modification, and this lizard is known from degraded areas, this species may not be tolerant of the complete loss of vegetation from these sites.|
|Conservation Actions:||This species occurs in Orangea, which is being developed as a new protected area. More information is needed on this species' ecological requirements, population status and sensitivity to threatening processes.|
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 June 2012).
Miralles, A., Köhler, J., Glaw, F. and Vences, M. 2011. A molecular phylogeny of the “Madascincus polleni species complex”, with description of a new species of scincid lizard from the coastal dune area of northern Madagascar. Zootaxa: 1-16.
|Citation:||Bowles, P. 2012. Madascincus arenicola. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.|