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
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Aprasia pseudopulchella (Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008dj) [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 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].
 
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Lower Risk (near threatened) (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Aprasia pseudopulchella [1666]
Family Pygopodidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Kluge,1974
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
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: Aprasia pseudopulchella

Common Name: Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard

The taxonomy of this species is conventionally accepted.

The Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard is a very small, worm-like, burrowing lizard with no obvious external ear opening (Cogger 2000). It is a legless lizard with poorly developed hind limb flaps and a dark brown head that gradually merges with a pale grey or grey-brown body, which in turn merges with a reddish-brown terminal half of the tail. The Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard has median longitudinal dark bars on the dorsal scales of the tail and part of the body, giving the impression of longitudinal lines (TSSC 2008dj). This species can be distinguished from its close relative, the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard (A. parapulchella), by having a greater average number of belly scales, two preorbital scales and frequent presence of a faint lateral head pattern (Cogger 2000).

The Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard is known from the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, extending south to the western slopes and northern and central Mount Lofty Ranges (Cogger et al. 1993). It is also found in the northern suburbs of Adelaide and the Mount Remarkable National Park. The species is known to occur within the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges and the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resource Management Region (TSSC 2008dj).

The Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard has not been well surveyed. Twenty-six animals are documented in Australian museum collections (Cogger et al. 1993) and eight were recorded over a period of 30 months during an herpetological survey of the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park (Mitchell 1992).

From 2004 to 2007, Kellog Brown and Root (KBR) (2008) surveyed the Northern Yorke NRM Regions and identified a number of populations of the species in native shrubland and grassland east and north-east of the Burra Hills.

Currently, there is insufficient data regarding population numbers of the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard.

Populations of Flinders Worm-lizards are known to occur within the Mount Remarkable National Park (Cogger et al. 1993) and the Cobbler Creek Reserve in the City of Tea Tree Gully area (Mitchell 1992).

The Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard burrows freely in loose sand and soil, under rocks and litter (EBS 2008). The species occurs in open woodland, native tussock grassland, riparian habitats and rocky isolates (Cogger et al. 1993).

It prefers stony soils, or clay soils with a stony surface, and has been found sheltering beneath stones and rotting stumps (Cogger et al. 1993; Wilson & Knowles 1988). The species is sometimes found under ground debris and logs, or in ant and termite nests (Cogger 2000).

The distribution of Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard overlaps with the following EPBC Act-listed threatened ecological communities (TSSC 2008dj):

  • The community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin
  • Buloke Woodlands of the Riverina and Murray-Darling Depresion Bioregions, Iron-grass natural Temperate Grassland of South Australia
  • Peppermint Box (Eucalyptus odorata) Grassy Woodland of South Australia.

No information is available on the ages of sexual maturity, life expectancy or natural mortality in the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard.

The reproductive biology of the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard is not known, however, all pygopodids are oviparous and lay a clutch of two eggs (Greer 2006).

The diet of most Aprasia species consists almost entirely (95%) of the larvae and pupae of ants and it can consume large numbers of prey items in a single meal. Individuals may feed only infrequently and only in warmer months of the year (Webb & Shine 1994a).

The Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard is similar, in most respects, to the closely related Pink-tailed Worm-lizard, (A. pulchella), but can be distinguised by its greater average number of ventral scales (166–193 compared to 158–184 in the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard), two preorbital scales and the frequent prescence of a faint lateral head pattern (Cogger 2000).

Flinders Ranges Worm-lizards are difficult to detect in the wild because of their burrowing habit. Surveys to detect the species should be undertaken during the spring months when they are generally found under surface rock (EBS 2008).

The main threats to the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard inlcude clearance of habitat, grazing by stock, cropping, pasture improvement and urbanisation (TSSC 2008dj). The majority of the preferred habitat of this species has been significantly removed or disturbed. Flinders Ranges Worm-lizards have been recorded in degraded habitat where scattered surface stone is present, however, it does not persist in areas that have been regularly cropped (EBS 2008).

The Conservation Advice (TSSC 2008dj) identifies following priority recovery and threat abatement actions for the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard:

  • Identify populations of high conservation priority.
  • Manage threats to areas of vegetation that contain populations/occurrences of the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard.
  • Ensure chemicals or other mechanisms used to eradicate weeds do not have a significant adverse impact on the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard.
  • Ensure development activities in areas the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard occurs do not adversely impact on known populations.
  • Manage any changes to hydrology which may result in changes to the watertable levels, increased run-off, sedimentation or pollution.
  • Investigate formal conservation arrangements such as the use of covenants, conservation agreements or inclusion in reserve tenure.
  • Develop and implement a stock management plan for roadside verges and travelling stock routes.
  • Manage known sites on private property to ensure appropriate stock grazing regimes are conducted.
  • Prevent grazing pressure at known sites on leased crown land through exclusion fencing or other barriers.
  • Raise awareness of the Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard within the local community.
  • Develop and promote guidelines for landowners and users to reduce the impact of current land use practices on the species outside reserve areas.
  • Investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Aprasia pseudopulchella (TSSC 2008dj) has been prepared to inform protection and 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
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation The Action Plan for Australian Reptiles (Cogger, H.G., E.E. Cameron, R.A. Sadlier & P. Eggler, 1993) [Cwlth Action Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Aprasia pseudopulchella in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ce) [Internet].
Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat loss and modification due to clearance of native vegetation and pasture improvements Aprasia pseudopulchella in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ce) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Mixed farms:Habitat modification and destruction due to cropping Aprasia pseudopulchella in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ce) [Internet].
Biological Resource Use:Gathering natural materials:Removal of bush rocks Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat loss, modification and degradation due to firewood collection Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Pollution:Pollution:Pollution due to oil spills and other chemical pollutants Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species & Ecological Communities of Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2009-2014 (Willson, A. & J. Bignall, 2009a) [State Recovery Plan].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development Aprasia pseudopulchella in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ce) [Internet].

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: 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.

Environmental & Biodiversity Services (EBS) (2008). Sturt Highway Duplication - Seppeltsfield Road to Greenock Road Section. Appendix 6 - Fauna Assessment of the Eucalyptus ordorata Grassy Woodland. [Online]. Keswick, South Australia: Environmental & Biodiversity Services. Available from: http://210.247.132.180/alt-host/assets/pdf_file/0009/36288/appendix_6part1.pdf. [Accessed: 28-May-2009].

Greer, A.E. (2006). Encyclopedia of Australian Reptiles. Australian Museum Online. [Online]. Available from: http://www.amonline.net.au/herpetology/research/index.htm. [Accessed: 28-May-2009].

Kellogg Brown and Root Pty Ltd (KBR) (2008). Sturt Highway Duplication Project- Review of Matters of National Environmental Significance.

Mitchell, D.J. (1992). A survey of the reptiles of the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, Salisbury East, South Australia. Herpetofauna. 22 (2):36-37.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008dj). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Aprasia pseudopulchella (Flinders Ranges Worm-lizard). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/1666-conservation-advice.pdf.

Webb, J.K. & R. Shine (1994a). Feeding habits and reproductive biology of Australian pygopodid lizards of the genus Aprasia. In: Copeia. 2.

Wilson, S.K. & D.G. Knowles (1988). Australia's Reptiles: A Photographic Reference to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia. Australia: Collins Publishers.

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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). Aprasia pseudopulchella in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 20 Sep 2014 23:06:55 +1000.