Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Lerista allanae (Allan's Lerista) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008ds) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft Referral guidelines for the nationally listed Brigalow Belt reptiles (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011e) [Admin Guideline].
Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened reptiles. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.6 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011m) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
QLD:Allan's lerista (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), 2013) [Database].
QLD:Brigalow Belt bioregion: a biodiversity jewel (Threatened Species Network (TSN), 2008b) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Critically Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Lerista allanae [1378]
Family Scincidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Longman,1937)
Infraspecies author  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Lerista allanae

Common name: Retro Slider

Other names: Allan's Lerista, Allan's Skink, Greater Robust Fine-lines Slider.

The Retro Slider, Lerista allanae, is a burrowing skink. It is grey or grey brown with darker-edged individual scales forming five longitudinal lines of dark spots (Cogger 2000). Its sides are pale, with individual scales finely spotted with dark brown. Its underside is whitish while the scales on the throat are dark-spotted. It has no fore limbs, but has single digit hind limbs. It can grow to 9 cm in length (Cogger 2000; QLD DERM 2010).

The Retro Slider's range is believed to occur within the area bound by coordinates: 21°00'–24°00' S and 147°00'–149°00' E (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010). This area is within the Brigalow Belt North Bioregion (Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia) in eastern Central Queensland.

Fragmented distribution

The restricted distribution of the Retro Slider is severely fragmented across the landscape as a result of clearing, mostly for agriculture. Populations are known to occur on freehold lands and in road reserves (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

Early records

Thirteen specimens were collected between 1929 and 1967. The earliest records were of specimens collected at Retro Station (approx 30 km ESE of Clermont) in 1929-1930 and 1936-37. Other specimens were collected at Logan Downs Station (approx 55 km NE of Clermont) in 1948 and in Clermont in 1960 (Covacevich et al. 1996a).

Current records

Surveys conducted in 2010 found eight specimens at new sites in general proximity to Retro Station (Borsboom et al. 2010; Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

Important populations

All Retro Slider populations are considered important populations. In addition, given that the species is difficult to detect, the Commonwealth environment department considers that an occurrence of suitable habitat within the Retro Slider's modelled distribution is important habitat and a surrogate for an ‘important population’ of the species (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

The Retro Slider is known only from black soil downs (undulating plains formed on basalt, shale, sandstone and unconsolidated sediments) of the Oxford land system in the Brigalow Belt North Biogeographic Region.

Early specimens were found several centimetres under the surface of black-red soil, under tussocks of grass on farmland (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010; Covacevich et al. 1996b; Slevin 1955). The specimens were found in association with the following habitats:

  • Mountain Coolibah (Eucalyptus orgadophila)/Red Bloodwood (E. erythrophloia) open woodlands and Black Tea-tree (Melaleuca bracteata) closed scrub to low closed-forest gravely hills, ridges and gullies
  • scattered Bauhinia spp. on plains (Queensland Department of Lands as cited in Covacevich et al. 1996b).

This habitat now appears to be extensively altered and little original vegetation remains (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010; Covacevich et al. 1996b). Recent records of the skink were from leaf litter and friable soils beneath trees and shrubs (Borsboom et al. in prep.). The soils for these records were described as chocolate to dark chocolate-coloured, non-cracking clay-based soils (30–64% clay content) in Queensland Regional Ecosystems (REs) 11.8.5 and 11.8.11/11.8.5 or were from sites where these REs were mapped as cleared (Borsboom et al. 2010; Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

For more information on Queensland Regional Ecosystems, please visit the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management website at

No information is available about the life cycle, reproductive behaviour, movement, diet or feeding habits of the Retro Slider (Cogger et al. 1993). Based on the habits of similar congeners, the Retro Slider is probably nocturnally active (DSEWPaC 2011m).

Termites are a primary source of food for Lerista species in general (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

Species distinctiveness and detectability

The Retro Slider's distribution is restricted to the area between Clermont and Capella (Couper & Ingram 1992). Populations in the region, from Hughenden to just east of Townsville, were recognised as belonging to a new species, the Nubbined Fine-lined Slider, (Lerista colliveri) in 1992 (DSEWPaC 2011m).

The Retro Slider and the Nubbined Fine-lined Slider are distinguished from each other by a combination of colour pattern and limb morphology. In the Retro Slider, the forelimb is absent and the colour pattern of the body is marked by longitudinal lines of dark spots, whereas the forelimb of L. colliveriis still represented by a small stump or nubbin, and the dark longitudinal lines on the back are continuous (DSEWPaC 2011m).

In the area between Clermont and Capella, two other species of reduced-limbed skinks in the Lerista genus, the Eastern Robust Slider (Lerista punctatovittata) and the Eastern Mulch-slider (Lerista fragilis), are also identified as regionally sympatric with the Retro Slider. The absence of forelimbs and presence of a hindlimb with a single clawed digit will readily distinguish the Retro Slider from these, or any other reduced limb skink in the region (Couper and Ingram 1992 in DSEWPaC 2011m).

Sampling and recording of observed specimens

Given the morphological similarities between the Retro Slider and the Nubbined Fine-lined Slider, support of potential records of either species by tissue samples and photo vouchers is recommended. These should be forwarded to the Queensland Museum for positive identification and data collation of the record (DSEWPaC 2011m).

Tissue sampling should only be undertaken with appropriate training in tissue preservation, ethics approval and State permits to collect samples. Where possible, photo vouchers should include close-up colour shots of the limb areas, and the head, body and tail dorsally, ventrally and laterally. Dead specimens (e.g. roadkills) should be frozen and advice on preservation and lodgement sought from the Queensland Museum (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

Survey methods

Habitat assessment

A habitat assessment is recommended as a preliminary step to designing and undertaking a targeted survey, including:

  • Determine the proximity of nearest records to the study area.
  • Search relevant databases such as Zoology Data Search (Queensland Museum) and Wildlife Online (Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management).
  • Obtain State vegetation mapping for the study area to determine the extent of suitable habitat including the presence of associated vegetation communities.
  • Determine the presence of suitable microhabitat features in the study area.

Targeted survey

Targeted surveys to confirm the presence/absence of the Retro Slider are done by actively searching suitable habitats (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010). Pitfall trapping is not considered as effective as hand-searching and should, therefore, be implemented as a supplementary survey technique. Where a longer survey period is possible, an artificial cover array (e.g. roof tiles, plywood squares, hay bales, etc.) may be worth trialling (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

Optimal conditions for active searching

The species is more likely to be detected when conditions are warm, not too dry and maximum temperatures are greater than 25°C. Optimal survey times for active searching are early morning (two hours either side of dawn) and during the evening on warm nights (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010; DSEWPaC 2011m).

Minimum survey effort

Sufficient time is required to thoroughly search the area by day and to spotlight by night. The minimum survey effort required includes (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010):

  • a minimum of three survey days and nights
  • at least one replicate survey employing all of the recommended techniques, if the species has not already been detected.

The key threatening processes for the Retro Slider (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010; Richardson 2006; Cogger et al. 1993) are:

  • Habitat clearing for agriculture and development
  • Stock overgrazing
  • Pasture improvement
  • Intensive cropping
  • Road upgrades or expansions.

Recovery planning and implementation

A recovery plan for the Queensland Brigalow Belt Reptiles, including the Retro Slider, was drafted by WWF-Australia in 2006 (Richardson 2006). The recovery actions outlined in this plan, and in the species profile on the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (Queensland DERM 2010b), are as follows:

  • Encourage involvement, provide incentives and adopt a collaborative approach with government agencies, NRM regional bodies, the Indigenous community, key industry stakeholders and local governments to deliver region-specific information and implement sustained, effective recovery actions.
  • Identify research priorities including development and support of the implementation of research projects undertaken by tertiary and research institutions.
  • Inspect and identify suitable habitat for conservation of the Retro Slider.
  • Identify key threats and develop management guidelines to protect key habitat.
  • Maximize the establishment of appropriate reserves to protect Retro Slider habitat and landscape connectivity over the long term, for example, on stock route networks, road reserves and private lands.
  • Ensure Retro Slider conservation is incorporated into appropriate land management decisions made by all levels of government and industry.
  • Develop and provide land management guidelines and incentives for landowners to reduce the impact of current land use practices on the species outside reserves.
  • Negotiate management agreements and voluntary conservation agreements with landholders, on whose land the Retro Slider occurs, in line with the recommended management guidelines.
  • Facilitate on ground projects to manage and protect habitats on a range of land tenures in line with recommended management guidelines, for example, in integrated weed and feral predator management programs.
  • Develop community awareness within the species' known range through media campaigns and education material and provide incentives for wider community involvement, for example, local governments and schools participating in reptile educational programs and adopting a local reptile species as their shire and/or school icon.
  • Implement recommended fire management guidelines in property and reserve designs.
  • Work with landholders and key stakeholders to undertake monitoring programs on selected sites.
  • Monitor and evaluate recovery actions, applying an adaptive management approach.

Mitigation measures or approaches that have been developed for the Retro Slider are (Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010):

  • Alternative project locations.
  • Avoid clearing/ retain habitat.
  • Design proposed action to avoid habitat disturbance.
  • Establish adequate buffer zones to protect habitat.
  • Implement measures to exclude cattle from habitats.
  • Maintain habitat connectivity across the landscape, for example, along roadside reserves.
  • Retain shelter habitat features in place.
  • Devise and implement a habitat management plan specific to the Retro Slider.
  • Implement measures to reduce the risk of invasive and predatory species accessing reptile habitat.
  • Devise and implement an appropriate fire management plan.
  • Devise and implement water management, sediment erosion and pollution control plans.

The known Retro Slider's range has been surveyed extensively with little success until 2010 when independent surveys observed and recorded a total of eight Retro Slider specimens in the Clermont region (Borsboom et al. in prep.; Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop 2010).

Management documents for the Retro Slider include:

  • Draft National Recovery Plan for the Queensland Brigalow Belt Reptiles (Richardson 2006).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Reptile diversity at risk in the Brigalow Belt, Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 42(2):475-486. (Covacevich, J.A., P.J. Couper & K.R. McDonald, 1998) [Journal].
Retro Slider, Lerista allanae (Queensland Museum, 2006) [Internet].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Land clearance (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001w) [Listing Advice].

Borsboom, A.C., Couper P.J., Amey A., Hobson R. & Wilson S.K. (In prep.). Rediscovery of the endangered Retro Slider (Lerista allanae) in the Clermont region of central Queensland. Scientific report. Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management and the Queensland Museum. Scientific report, Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management and the Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

Brigalow Belt Reptiles Workshop (2010). Proceedings from the workshop for the nine listed reptiles of the Brigalow Belt bioregions. 18-19 August. Brisbane: Queensland Herbarium.

Cogger, H.G. (2000). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia - 6th edition. Sydney, NSW: Reed New Holland.

Cogger, H.G., E.E. Cameron, R.A. Sadlier & P. Eggler (1993). The Action Plan for Australian Reptiles. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Australian Nature Conservation Agency. Available from:

Couper, P.J. & G.J. Ingram (1992). A new species of skink of Lerista from Queensland and a re-appraisal of L. allanae (Longman). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 32 (1):55-59.

Covacevich, J.A., P.J. Couper & K.R. McDonald (1996a). Reptiles of Queensland's Brigalow Biogeographic Region: Distributions, Status and Conservation. Page(s) 148. Canberra: Australian Nature Conservation Agency (ANCA).

Covacevich, J.A., P.J. Couper & K.R. McDonald (1996b). Lerista allanae (Scincidae: Lygosominae): 60 years from exhibition to extinction?. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 39(2):247-256.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) (2011m). Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened reptiles. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.6 . [Online]. Canberra, ACT: DSEWPaC. Available from:

Department of the Environment and Resource Management (QLD DERM) (2010a). Wildlife and Ecosystems-Allan's lerista. [Online]. Brisbane, Department of the Environment and Resource Management. Available from:

Richardson, R. (2006). Draft Queensland Brigalow Belt Reptile Recovery Plan 2008 - 2012. [Online]. Report to the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Brisbane, Queensland: WWF-Australia. Available from:

Slevin, J.R. (1955). Notes on Australian amphibians. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. 4.28:355-392.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008ds). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Lerista allanae (Allan's Lerista). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from:

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Lerista allanae in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:33:13 +1000.