Biodiversity

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 Vulnerable as Liopholis pulchra longicauda
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009u) [Conservation Advice].
 
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009v) [Listing Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against threats (26/05/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat abatement plan to reduce the impacts of exotic rodents on biodiversity on Australian offshore islands of less than 100 000 hectares 2009 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009u) [Threat Abatement 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
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 pulchra longicauda.
 
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (77) (26/05/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009k) [Legislative Instrument] as Egernia pulchra longicauda.
 
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list) as Liopholis pulchra longicauda
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Vulnerable (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Liopholis pulchra longicauda [83162]
Family Scincidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author (Ford, 1963)
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 pulchra longicauda [64482]
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

The current conservation status of the Jurien Bay Skink, Egernia pulchra longicauda, under Australian and State Government legislation, is as follows:

National: Listed as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Western Australia: Listed as Fauna that is rare or likely to become extinct under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Scientific name: Egernia pulchra longicauda

Common name: Jurien Bay Skink

Other common names: Jurien Bay Rock-skink

Egernia pulchra longicauda is conventionally accepted (Ford 1963). Egernia pulchra pulchra is the other subspecies, and occurs on the lower west coast and south-western corner of Western Australia, separated from the Jurien Bay Skink by about 300 km (Ford 1963; Hamilton 2003).

The Jurien Bay Skink is a slender, flat-headed, medium-sized skink with a long tail. The subspecies' upper surface is brown, while a black laterodorsal stripe is usually present and enclosing a series of pale spots and bordered below by pale grey dorsolateral stripe.The Jurien Bay Skink has a bright orange ventral surface (except the throat), and a suffusion of orange on the upper and lower labials (lips), auricular lobules (ears), loreals (scales on the side of the head) temporals, side of neck and many pale spots on the back. The orbit is black contrasting with the creamy white edge of eyelids. The sides of the Jurien Bay Skink are grey and densely flecked with black or, rarely, white. (Ford 1963; Storr et al. 1999; TSSC 2009u, 2009v)

The Jurien Bay Skink grows to 30 cm in length. Midbody scales are dorsal and lateral with two to four keels and 33–38 rows. The lamellae (disk) are smooth and subdigital, while the fourth toe is 23–28 proximally divided (Storr 1968; Storr et al. 1999). The snout-vent length (SVL) is 54–104 mm (Storr 1968), while the tail is up to 218% of SVL, which is 25% longer than the mainland subspecies Egernia pulchra pulchra.

Sexes are similar and the orange coloration is not a breeding characteristic (Ford 1963).

The Jurien Bay Skink is endemic to Western Australia, and occurs on a group of four small, low-lying islands (Escape, Favourite, Whitlock and Boullanger Islands) in Jurien Bay, 200 km north of Perth. As each of the four islands are separated by ocean, the subspecies is considered fragmented into four geographically isolated populations. The islands are located within the Northern Agricultural Natural Resource Management Region (TSSC 2009u, 2009v).

There is a lack of data on the distribution of this subspecies on the four islands. Therefore, the area of occupancy is estimated to be the combined area of the four islands, which is approximately 0.45 km² (TSSC 2009v).

The total size of the Jurien Bay Skink population is not conclusively known, as all recorded sightings have been associated with opportunistic collections. The Western Australian Museum has recorded 26 specimens (WA DEC 2008b; TSSC 2009v).

Museum records for specimens collected in 1961, 1962, 1978, 1985, 2001 and 2003 (WA DEC 2008b).

Island Year Number of Specimens
Favourite Island 1961
1978
2001
2003
7
1
1
1
Boullanger Island 1961
1985
7
1
Whitlock Island 1961
2003
1
4
Escape Island 1962
2003
2
1
As all recorded sightings have been associated with opportunistic collections, there are insufficient quantitative data available to determine past trends in numbers of the Jurien Bay Skink population (TSSC 2009v).

The islands inhabited by the Jurian Bay Skink are designated in the Turquoise Coast Island Nature Reserves in Western Australia (WA CALM 2004a; WA DEC 2008b). The islands are also surrounded by the Jurien Bay Marine Park (WA CALM 2004a).

The Jurien Bay Skink inhabits rock isolates and low shrubland. It is found in pre-existing cavities such as crevices amongst limestone rocks and sometimes in seabird burrows (Cogger et al. 1993; TSSC 2009u, 2009v). On Escape Island, it has been observed in dense ground litter beneath low scrub vegetation, as well as under sheets of cardboard (Ford 1965; TSSC 2009u, 2009v).

The Jurien Bay Skink is unlikely to be confused with any other species within its habitat. The Jurien Bay Skink population differs from Egernia pulchra pulchra in having a relatively longer tail, a bright orange ventral surface except the throat (which is whitish on the mainland species), and a suffusion of orange on the upper and lower labials (lips), auricular lobules (ears), loreals (scales on the side of the head) temporals, side of neck and many pale spots on the back (Ford 1963).

The main identified threats to the Jurien Bay Skink are habitat disturbance, accidental fire, and competition and predation from introduced animals, all associated with frequent human visitation to the islands (TSSC 2009u; WA CALM 2004a).

Competition with introduced animals is currently known to be threatening this subspecies. It has been confirmed that the house mouse (Mus musculus) on Boullanger Island is limiting the population size of the Jurien Bay Skink by eating vast quantities of insects and depleting the food resources of the island (TSSC 2009v; Dickman 1999).

Escape, Favourite, Whitlock and Boullanger Islands are only a couple of kilometres offshore from the mainland. This proximity to the coast exposes the subspecies to a number of potential threatening processes associated with frequent human visitation, such as the disturbance of habitat (from trampling and erosion), accidental fire, and the unintentional introduction of animals or invasive plants to the islands. These threats are likely to be ongoing, as visitor pressure is predicted to increase as a result of Jurien Bay's growth as a regional centre (WA CALM 2004a; TSSC 2009v).

Given that it only occupies small, low-lying islands, the Jurien Bay Skink could be threatened by rising sea levels as a result of climate change (TSSC 2009v).

Minister's Reasons for Recovery Plan Decision
A recovery plan for this subspecies is not considered to be necessary at this time as the approved conservation advice provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against threats (2009).

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (TSSC 2009u) recommends the following research priorities:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program on the four islands on which the subspecies occurs.
  • More precisely assess population size, population trend, and the subspecies' geographic distribution on each of the four islands.
  • Undertake research on the ecological requirements and biology of the Jurien Bay Skink.
  • Consider the establishment of ex-situ populations.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (2009u) recommends the following priority actions:

  • Monitor known populations to identify key threats.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Develop and implement a management plan for the control and eradication of the House Mouse (Mus musculus) on Boullanger Island, and any of the other three islands where the House Mouse has been sighted.
  • Implement a surveillance program to prevent the introduction of invasive species, particularly introduced predators.
  • Raise awareness of the Jurien Bay Skink within the local community, and implement guidelines for visitors to the islands, to reduce the impact on the subspecies' habitat (e.g. general visitors to these islands could be confined to sandy beach areas or designated paths or boardwalks to limit disturbance to habitat).

The Action Plan for Australian Reptiles (Cogger et al. 1993) discuss the following management actions:

  • Survey the status of the subspecies on Whitlock Island.
  • Develop community awareness program and implement guidelines for visitors to the islands, to reduce impact on the subspecies' habitat.
  • Implement surveillance program to prevent the introduction of exotic species, particularly introduced predators.
  • Implement eradication program for the House Mouse on the islands.
  • Periodically monitor the subspecies' populations on all the islands on which it occurs.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (TSSC 2009u), the Turquoise Coast Island Nature Reserves: Management Plan (Management Plan No 50) (WA CALM 2004a) and the Action Plan for Australia Reptiles (Cogger et al. 1993) provide management recommendations for the Jurien Bay Skink. The Threat abatement plan to reduce the impacts of exotic rodents on biodiversity on Australian offshore islands of less than 100 000 hectares 2009 (DEWHA 2009u) describes research, management and other actions to protect native species and ecological communities from exotic rodents.

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
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate change altering atmosphere/hydrosphere temperatures, rainfall patterns and/or frequency of severe weather events Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009u) [Conservation Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Global warming and associated sea level changes Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009v) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009u) [Conservation Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Mechanical disturbance during construction, maintanance or recreational activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009v) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, competition and/or habitat degradation Mus musculus (House Mouse) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009v) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009u) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009v) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Escaped fire Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009v) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2009u) [Conservation Advice].

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: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/action/reptiles/index.html.

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: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/threatened-reptiles.html.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2009u). Threat abatement plan to reduce the impacts of exotic rodents on biodiversity on Australian offshore islands of less than 100 000 hectares 2009. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/exotic-rodents.html.

Dickman, C.R. (1999). Rodent-ecosystem relationships: a review. In: Singleton G.R., L.A. Hinds, H. Leirs & Z. Zhang, eds. Ecologically-based Management of Rodent Pests. Page(s) 113-133. Canberra, ACT: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Ford, J.R. (1963). The Distribution and Variation of the Skinks Egernia pulchra and E. bos in Western Australia. WA Naturalist. 9(2):25-29.

Ford, J.R. (1965). The reptilian fauna of the islands between Dongara and Lancelin, Western Australia. WA Naturalist. 9(7):174-175.

Hamilton, Z. (2003). Marooned Lizards: Variation is isolated and fragmented populations of Egernia stokesii. Hons. Thesis. Perth, Western Australia: University of Western Australia.

Storr, G.M. (1968). Revision of the Egernia whitei species-group (Lacerita : Scincidae). Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia. 51:51-62.

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

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009u). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/64482-conservation-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2009v). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia pulchra longicauda (Jurien Bay Skink). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/64482-listing-advice.pdf.

Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA CALM) (2004a). Turquoise Coast Island Nature Reserves: Management Plan (Management Plan No 50). [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/pdf/nature/management/turquoise_coast_aps.pdf.

Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2008b). Western Australian Threatened Fauna Species Information Sheet: Jurien Bay Skink. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Environment and Conservation.

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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 pulchra longicauda in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:03:43 +1000.