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 as Liopholis slateri slateri
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia slateri slateri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001y) [Listing Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Recovery Plan for Slater's Skink, Egernia slateri Page(s) 1-22. (Pavey, C., 2004) [Recovery Plan] as Liopholis slateri slateri.
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 (09/03/2001) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2001i) [Legislative Instrument] as Egernia slateri slateri.
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (95) (16/12/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009a) [Legislative Instrument] as Liopholis slateri slateri.
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory - Slater's skink Egernia slateri (McDonald, P., 2012b) [Information Sheet].
Scientific name Liopholis slateri slateri [83163]
Family Scincidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Storr, 1968)
Infraspecies author  
Reference M.G. Gardner et al. (2008) Molecular systematics of social skinks: phylogeny and taxonomy of the Egernia group (Reptilia: Scincidae) Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 154:781-794
Other names Egernia slateri slateri [66891]
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

Slater's Skink is a smooth, heavily built burrowing skink. The upperbody is greyish brown in colour with black patterning and the underbody is pale cream to bluish-grey. It can have a rose-coloured flush around the sides of the head and neck area (G.Fyfe 2004, pers. comm.). Average snout-vent length is 8.5 cm (Horner 1991; Pavey 2002).

This Skink occurs on alluvial plains in central areas of the MacDonnell region of the Northern Territory (Horner 1991; Wilson & Swan 2003). Speciments have been collected from six localities in the Finke and MacDonnell Ranges bioregions (Pavey 2002; G.Fyfe 2004, pers. comm.).

LocalityYear of surveyNumber of individuals
5 km south of Alice Springs - type locality1964-6558
Junction of Ellery & Jerimah Cks near Hermannsberg196432
Palmer River on Tempe Downs Station19651
Finke Gorge NP1995-20007
Illamurta Springs2004?
Hugh River in Owen Springs Reserve2004?

There is an unconfirmed record from Loves Creek Pastoral Lease in the East MacDonnell Ranges in 1989 that is likely to be this species (S. McAlpin pers. comm. in Pavey 2002).

The subspecies appears to have been abundant in the 1960s, but since then numbers have declined dramatically, and the total population is now thought to be no more than 200-300 mature individuals. Extensive surveys during 1995 and 1999-2000 failed to locate any individuals at the Alice Springs, Ellery Ck and Tempe Downs localities or nearby sites, but discovered an extant population at Finke Gorge National Park (Pavey 2002). Surveys during 2004 found a new location on the Hugh River and confirmed the presence of the subspecies at the Tempe Downs, Ellery Ck and Illamurta Springs localities (G.Fyfe 2004, pers. comm.).

Egernia slateri slateri is the northern subspecies of E. slateri. The southern subspecies, Egernia slateri virgata, occurs in far northern South Australia (Horner 1991). The southern subspecies is known from only four specimens, and has not been located since 1914 (Pavey 2002).

In 1989, several specimens resembling Egernia slateri were captured in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, well out of the species' known range (Woinarski 1992). Although they have appeared in publications as Egernia slateri (e.g. Storr et al. 1999), they also resemble the closely related E. striata, and the population is not presently accepted by the Western Australian Museum as being E. slateri (Aplin & Smith 2001).

At most sites, Slater's Skink occurs in eucalypt and mulga woodland and open woodland on alluvial soils close to drainage lines. However in Finke Gorge National Park it has been located in a range of environments including an isolated dune supporting shrubland, low rolling calcareous rises with 60% spinifex cover and on an elevated, narrow, rocky creekline (Pavey 2002).

A burrowing species, it digs complex burrow systems under small trees and shrubs, particularly corkwood (Hakea divaricata), Turpentine (Eremophila sturtii) (Pavey 2002), and Spotted Emu-bush (Eremophila maculata) (G.Fyfe 2004, pers. comm.). The burrows are dug into the low pedestal of soil that usually builds up beneath these trees (Pavey 2002). May occasionally be found under ground debris (Horner 1991).

The species is diurnal (active by day) (Pavey 2002).

Feeds on arthropods (Pavey 2002).

Females give birth to live young (Pavey 2002).

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
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia slateri slateri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001y) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia slateri slateri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001y) [Listing Advice].

Aplin, K.P. & L.A. Smith (2001). Checklist of the frogs and reptiles of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement. 63:51-74. Western Australian Museum.

Fyfe, Greg (2004). Personal communication.

Horner, Paul (1991). Skinks of the Northern Territory. In: Northern Territory Museum Handbook Series No. 2. Northern Territory Government Printing Office.

Pavey, Chris (2002). Slater's Skink Egernia slateri. Threatened Species of the Northern Territory - information sheet. [Online]. Parks & Wildlife Commission, Northern Territory. Available from:

Storr, G.M., L.A. Smith & R.E. Johnstone (1999). Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Revised Edition. Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Museum.

Wilson, S. & G. Swan (2003). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Page(s) 480. Sydney: Reed New Holland.

Woinarski, J.C.Z. (1992). A survey of the wildlife and vegetation of Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) National Park and adjacent area. Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management Research Bulletin. Page(s) 1-140.

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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). Liopholis slateri slateri in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 21:42:48 +1000.