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 Critically Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Nangura spinosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007k) [Listing Advice].
APPROVED Conservation Advice on Nangura spinosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007l) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, much of the species' range occurs in areas protected by reserves in Queensland. As forest activities continue to pose a threat to the species in some of the reserves, a recovery plan will provide a better mechanism to ensure forest management practices are sufficient to protect the species (05/05/2008).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Recovery plan for the Nangur spiny skink (Nangura spinosa) (Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (Qld DERM), 2010a) [Recovery Plan].
Policy Statements and Guidelines 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
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (54) (07/12/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007d) [Legislative Instrument].
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Scientific name Nangura spinosa [59550]
Family Scincidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Covacevich, Couper and James,1993
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: Nangura spinosa

Common Name: Nangur Spiny Skink

The Nangur Spiny Skink is brown above, with irregular narrow blackish cross-bands. The labial scales are edged with black. The skink is cream below with the dorsal and ventral colours merging on the flanks. Scales are in 28 to 30 rows at mid body, while the body scales are strongly keeled and forming longitudinal ridges and ventral scales are weakly carinate (Cogger 2000). The Nangur Spiny Skink has no ear lobes, the ear-opening is large and vertically elliptic and the tympanum is superficial, lying just below the rim of the opening. There are a series of enlarged scales separating the labials from the small scales of the eyelid, which is entirely scaly (Cogger 2000). The Nangur Spiny Skink grows to a snout-vent length of 9.5 cm (Cogger 2000; Covacevich et al. 1993; Wilson 2005).

The Nangur Spiny Skink occurs in two locations within southeast Queensland:

The two locations in which this species occurs are approximately 38km apart in southeast Queensland.

Though the Nangur Spiny Skink has only been found at two locations, it has not been through a lack of survey effort. Fauna surveys by Broadbent and Clarke (1976) and Horsup and colleagues (1993) that included reptiles, and covered areas with potentially suitable the Nangur Spiny Skink habitat in reasonable proximity to known locations for the skink, failed to find new populations.

Total estimated population size of mature the Nangur Spiny Skink is 183, with two isolated populations, 140 at one site and only 43 at a second site.

The Nangur Spiny Skink has been recorded in hoop pine plantation and in semi-evergreen vine thicket/forest. It has been found between 315–600 m altitude, the burrows in soils with a significant clay content and based on a 'Neara Volcanics' geology. Ground level cover at burrow sites in both hoop pine plantation and native forest is approximately two-thirds fine leaf litter with little live vegetation. Burrow sites are normally well shaded, with an average projected vegetation cover of 85%. Plant species composition differs between burrow sites at the two known locations for the skink, and at one of these locations also varies between hoop pine plantation and native forest burrow sites, both on and away from roadside banks.

Little is known of the Nangur Spiny Skink's reproductive biology, but its genetic affinities with the live-bearing G. queenslandiae (O'Connor & Moritz 2003; Reeder 2003), and the Eulamprus tenuis species group (O'Connor & Moritz 2003), suggests it is probably a live-bearer. The Nangur Spiny Skink can be active during the day in front of its burrow entrance during spring, summer and autumn (Covacevich et al. 1993; Hannah et al. 1997). Crepuscular activity has been recorded outside burrows in April.

Examination of faecal pellets indicates the skink's diet consists of a variety of invertebrates with beetles and spiders preferred (Covacevich et al. 1993).

The Nangur Spiny Skink lives in single-entrance burrows, that are usually occupied by a single adult-sized or sub-adult skink, but may be shared by up to five individuals that can include up to three young and/or another adult or sub-adult skink. Burrows have been recorded to 60 cm long (Covacevich et al. 1993; Wilson 2005). The skink is suspected of being relatively sedentary, with some burrows in use for over eight years.

The location of burrow entrances varies with location and habitat. When rocks are present, burrow entrances are most often at the base of a rock. Other favoured burrow entrance sites include beneath exposed tree roots and buttresses and at the base of trees. About 28 percent of burrow entrances on road embankments were not associated with any ground cover such as rocks, roots or tree bases. No burrows entrances have been associated with logs. Burrow entrances average about 8 cm wide by 3 cm high, and can have a smooth 'resting platform' in front approximately 11 cm wide by 8.5 cm long (Hannah et al. 1997). Burrow density at one of the two locations where the skink occurs, was significantly higher on roadside banks than adjacent forest. Roadways along which the skink occurs are unpaved and currently not regularly graded.

There is a significant threat to the Nangur Spiny Skink from hoop pine harvesting and replanting.

The skink is also threatened by road maintenance. The banks and edges of the unpaved roadways along which the Nangur Spiny Skink occurs need protection from maintenance by heavy machinery. Over recent years road maintenance has been minimal where the skink occurs.

Besides the expected degradation of habitat quality by any attempt to harvest and replant hoop pine plantations where the Nangur Spiny Skink currently occurs, other factors may affect habitat quality. Feral pigs occur on and in the vicinity of the two known locations for the skink. Unless a regular and systematic program to control feral pigs is maintained, pigs will continue to degrade and disturb ground level habitat of the skink, especially along drainage lines.

At the two known sites, there are significant infestations of the shrubby weed Lantana camara (lantana). Lantana can form dense thickets, although at known burrow sites no lantana thickets were recorded. However, lantana requires on-going control, especially at Nangur, to minimise impact on the Nangur Spiny Skink habitat quality. Some roadways within the reserve are no longer trafficable because of lantana growth. The flammability of lantana facilitates fire spreading into vine scrub leading to death of fire-intolerant scrub species and further lantana invasion (Fensham et al. 1994; Gentle & Duggin 1977). The weed is also considered a threat to rainforest because it can form a monodominant shrub layer that prevents rainforest regeneration, thus impeding natural succession processes (South-east Queensland Rainforest Recovery Team 2003b). Lantana along roadways in Nangur Forest Reserve also makes roadside surveys for the Nangur Spiny Skink difficult.

Feral pigs, feral cats, foxes, dingoes and cane toads occur on or in the vicinity of known the Nangur Spiny Skink locations. All will feed on small reptiles and have the potential to significantly reduce numbers of the skink. One or more of these predators may already be part of the reason why there are low numbers of the Nangur Spiny Skink and why it has only been found at two locations. The impact of these potential predators needs to be assessed with some urgency and measures to ameliorate their impact implemented and monitored.

Minister's reason for recovery plan decision
As forest activities continue to pose a threat to the species in some of the reserves, a recovery plan will provide a suitable mechanism to ensure appropriate management of the species.

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
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Nangura spinosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007k) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice on Nangura spinosa (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007k) [Listing Advice].

Broadbent, J. & S. Clarke (1976). A faunal survey of east Australian rainforest. Unpublished interim report, Australian Museum, Sydney.

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

Covacevich, J.A., P.J. Couper & C. James (1993). A new skink, Nangura spinosa gen. et sp. nov., from a dry rainforest of southeastern Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 34(1):159-167.

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:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2005). Regional Ecosystem Description Database (REDD) Version 4.2. Updated march 2005.

Fensham, R.J., R.J. Fairfax & R.J. Cannell (1994). The invasion of Lantana camara L. in Forty Mile Scrub National park, north Queensland. Australian Journal of Ecology. 19:297-305.

Gentle, C.B. & J.A. Duggin (1997). Lantana camara L. invasions in dry rainforest - open forest ecotones: The roles of disturbance associated with fire and cattle grazing. Australian Journal of Ecology. 22:298-306.

Hannah, D., G. Agnew, B. Hamley & L. Hogan (1997). New information on the narrowly restricted skink, Nangura spinosa. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 42(1):90.

Horsup, A., C. James & G. Porter (1993). Vertebrates of dry rainforest of south and mideastern Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 43(1):215-228.

O'Connor, D. & C. Moritz (2003). A molecular phylogeny of the Australian skink genera Eulamprus, Gnypetoscincus and Nangura. Australian Journal of Zoology. 51:317-330.

Reeder, T.W. (2003). A phylogeny of the Australia Sphenomorphus group (Scincidae: Squamata) and the phylogenetic placement of the crocodile skinks (Tribolonotus): Bayesian approaches to assessing congruence and obtaining confidence in maximum likelihood inferred relationships. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 27:384-397.

South-east Queensland Rainforest Recovery Team (2003b). Draft Southeast Queensland Rainforest Recovery Plan 2003-2008. Unpublished report by the South East Queensland Rainforest Recovery Team 2003 to the Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

Wilson, S. (2005). A field guide to reptiles of Queensland. Reed New Holland, Sydney.

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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). Nangura spinosa in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Sun, 31 Aug 2014 07:31:20 +1000.