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Lygodactylus williamsi

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA GEKKONIDAE

Scientific Name: Lygodactylus williamsi
Species Authority: Loveridge, 1952
Common Name/s:
English Turquoise Dwarf Gecko, Williams' Dwarf Gecko
Synonym/s:
Lygodactylus picturatus subspecies williamsi Loveridge, 1952

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-02-22
Assessor/s: Flecks, M., Weinsheimer, F., Böhme, W., Chenga, J., Lötters, S., Rödder, D., Schepp, U. & Schneider, H.
Reviewer/s: Bowles, P. & Cox, N.A.
Justification:
Lygodactylus williamsi has been listed as Critically Endangered as it is only known from an extremely small area in Tanzania, with an extent of occurrence of approximately 20 km² and an area of occupancy of less than 8 km², within which it occurs as a severely fragmented population. This area is currently facing severe habitat destruction and fragmentation, and the species is heavily collected for the international pet trade.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Tanzania and is found within the Forest Reserves of Kimboza and Ruvu. It is also known from two localities in the vicinity of these forests (Flecks et al. 2012). Its extent of occurrence is approximately 20 km², and within this area it has an estimated area of occupancy of 8 km².
Countries:
Native:
Tanzania, United Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The subpopulation in Kimboza Forest Reserve was estimated to comprise approximately 150,000 adult individuals in 2009, based on the number of Pandanus plants in the reserve and the number of lizards per plant sampled (Flecks et al. 2012). This subpopulation is estimated to have declined by one third of its original size since 2004, based on a similar calculation of abundance derived in part from pre-collection literature (Flecks et al. 2012). Although population turnover is likely to replenish some of the losses due to off-take, both these estimates and the testimony of interviewees from the region indicate that the population is still in decline (Flecks et al. 2012). The status of the subpopulation at Ruvu Forest Reserve needs quantification.

Two further subpopulations outside of these forests occupy very small areas and do not contribute significantly to the total population. The four known subpopulations are not connected due to lack of suitable habitat in between (Flecks et al. 2012), and the population is consequently considered to be severely fragmented.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This diurnal gecko species inhabits tropical forest at the eastern foothills of the Uluguru Mountains (Doggart et al. 2001, Spawls et al. 2004), where it exclusively dwells on Screwpine, Pandanus rabaiensis (Lambert 1985, Weinsheimer and Flecks 2010). This tree is associated with swampy areas or limestone substrata within the forest area. Usually, one male, one or more females and several juveniles inhabit one Pandanus plant (Bayliss 1994, Flecks et al. 2012).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation due to ongoing deforestation (illegal logging of timber, pole cutting, firewood collection, hunting activities, clearing for agriculture, and the increasing frequency of fires). The limestone formations on which the Pandanus plants grow are mined (Hymas 2000). Collection for the international pet trade directly affects the species at a scale likely to threaten the population (Flecks et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Although it does occur inside Kimboza Forest Reserve and Ruvu Forest Reserve, neither of these reserves is well-protected at present. There is an urgent need to control trade in this species, and CITES listing on either Appendix I or II is strongly recommended (M. Flecks pers. comm. March 2012). Lack of habitat protection represents a major threat to this lizard, and improved monitoring is required to ensure the security of the reserves from which the gecko is known (M. Flecks pers. comm. March 2012). The species is in need of special consideration in Tanzania's national wildlife and forestry management plans (M. Flecks pers. comm. March 2012). Research is needed to estimate the size and status of the population in Ruvu Forest Reserve, and to better-understand the effects of habitat fragmentation on this microhabitat specialist (M. Flecks pers. comm. March 2012).
Citation: Flecks, M., Weinsheimer, F., Böhme, W., Chenga, J., Lötters, S., Rödder, D., Schepp, U. & Schneider, H. 2012. Lygodactylus williamsi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 April 2014.
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