Emoia nativitatis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Emoia nativitatis (Boulenger, 1887)
Common Name(s):
English Christmas Island Whiptail-skink, Christmas Island Forest Skink, Forest Skink
Lygosoma nativitatis Boulenger, 1887

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Extinct ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-02-20
Assessor(s): Cogger, H. & Woinarski, J.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Harris, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Tognelli, M., De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Powney, G.
This species was endemic to Christmas Island and was abundant in the 1970s. However, its population declined dramatically due mainly to the impact of introduced species. It was last seen in the wild in August 2010 and the last known individual died in captivity in 2014. It is therefore considered Extinct.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species was endemic to Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. It was last recorded in August 2010 (Andrew et al. 2010), and the results of extensive survey work suggest that it is now extinct.
Countries occurrence:
Regionally extinct:
Christmas Island
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was formerly reported to be generally common. Declines were first reported in 1998 (Cogger and Sadlier 1999) but only understood to be extreme as late as 2005 (James 2004, Schulz and Barker 2008), only five years before the species was last recorded in the wild (Andrew et al. 2016). Despite extensive surveys, the forest skink was last seen in the wild in August 2010 and the last known individual died in captivity in 2014 (Andrew et al. 2016). Efforts to establish a captive breeding programme from August 2009 failed because only three individuals of this species, all female, could be captured (Andrew et al. 2016). In 2013, before the last individual's death in 2014, the species was considered functionally extinct (Woinarski and Cogger 2013) and now presumably must be extinct.
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Cogger et al. (1983) state that this species was found in forest clearings, usually in leaf litter but occasionally on low vegetation or tree buttresses. It was reported to be locally abundant wherever sunlight penetrates the canopy, especially along tracks or roads with available sunlight (Cogger et al. 1983).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no use or trade of this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): H. Cogger (pers. comm. 2010) reported that the rapid decline in population numbers was due to direct and indirect impacts on the island's forest ecology of supercolony development in the invasive Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes). The rapidity of the decline in both this species and other endemic lizards suggests however that the threatening processes causing these declines are multiple and complex, and crazy ant infestations are concentrated in coastal and near-coastal areas of Christmas Island. In particular, declines appear to have taken place in most native lizard species following the introduction of the Indian Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus) in the early 1980s (Andrew et al. 2016), and Wolf Snake predation is now understood to be the proximate cause of this skink's extinction. Due to mining on the island, there has been a loss of 25% of forest habitat, a possible contributing factor to the decline of the species (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is considered Critically Endangered by the Australian government in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Following the failure to establish a captive breeding programme this species appears to have become extinct, and no further conservation measures are possible as a result.

Citation: Cogger, H. & Woinarski, J. 2017. Emoia nativitatis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T178595A101749951. . Downloaded on 21 March 2018.
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