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 Notechis scutatus ater
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Notechis ater ater (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008adb) [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] as Notechis ater ater.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (87) (23/09/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009i) [Legislative Instrument] as Notechis scutatus ater.
 
Scientific name Notechis scutatus ater [82287]
Family Elapidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author (Krefft, 1866)
Reference  
Other names Notechis ater ater [64489]
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
http://www.kingsnake.com/oz/snakes/elapids/naater.htm

A snake to 1.5 m in length, with black or very dark brown body, sometimes with faint darker or lighter cross-bands visible (especially in juveniles), light to very dark grey belly and smooth scales (Cogger 2000).

Confined to several stream systems in the southern Flinders Ranges, SA. Occurs in Mount Remarkable NP, Doughby Reserve south-east of Melrose, Spring Ck and Cannons Swamp north of Melrose, and the mouth of the Broughton R. south of Port Pirie (Cogger et al. 1993). The current distribution appears to be restricted to the wetter parts of the Flinders Ranges (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

Anecdotal reports suggest Tiger Snakes may have occurred in the northern Flinders Ranges, with unconfirmed sightings from Arkaba Station and Wilpena Pound Ck (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

Although data did not allow for population estimates, a study at Spring Ck and Cannons Swamp identified 48 individuals in the area (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

Relationships of the various species, subspecies and populations of Notechis are obscure (Cogger et al. 1993). Rawlinson (1991) suggested that the populations on Kangaroo I. and the Sir Joseph Banks Group, variously ascribed to Notechis scutatus niger and Notechis ater niger, may be the same taxon as Notechis ater ater.

Restricted to the rocky, often steep margins of watercourses that may dry to become isolated pools during the summer, beginning in Sept. (Wilson & Knowles 1988; Mirtschin & Bailey 1990; Cogger et al. 1993). Riparian vegetation consists of woodland dominated by River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and Sugar Gums (Eucalyptus cladocalyx). Valley slope vegetation is dominated by Long-leafed Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx) with an understorey of Mustard Bush (Cassinia sp.) and Hymenanthera angustifolia (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

Snakes take shelter in flood debris accumulated against trees and shrubs in creek beds, in rocky screes on valley slopes, and in shrubby undergrowth on the plains (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990; Cogger et al. 1993). Some snakes take refuge in water when disturbed (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

Snakes begin entering the water in Nov., when water temperatures average between 16.5°C and 18.5°C. No observations of snakes in the water were made after Jan. (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

Snakes forage in water, perhaps utilising their black colouration to quickly gain heat when out of the water before reentering to forage. They have been observed to muzzle under submerged rocks, flipping their tails on the surface, in search of tadpoles. Individuals have been observed to stay submerged for up to nine minutes. The diet of wild individuals includes frogs, tadpoles and ducklings. Captive specimens will readily take mice, rats and chickens (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

Matings occur in spring, with two females held in captivity giving birth to 15 and eight young in Apr. (Mirtschin & Bailey 1990).

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 Notechis ater ater in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006pp) [Internet].
Biological Resource Use:Hunting and Collecting Terrestrial Animals:Harvesting for commercial purposes Notechis ater ater in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006pp) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem Degradation:Decline in habitat quality Notechis ater ater in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006pp) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem Degradation:Habitat deterioration due to soil degradation and erosion Notechis ater ater in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006pp) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation by fish Notechis ater ater in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006pp) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Notechis ater ater in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006pp) [Internet].
Pollution:Pollution:Deterioration of water and soil quality (contamination and pollution) Notechis ater ater in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006pp) [Internet].
Species Stresses:Species Stresses:unspecified Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Notechis ater ater (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008adb) [Conservation Advice].

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.

Mirtschin, P.J. & N. Bailey (1990). A study of the Kreffts Black Tiger Snake Notechis ater ater (Reptilia:Elapidae). South Australian Naturalist. 64 (3/4):52-61.

Rawlinson, P.A. (1991). Taxonomy and distribution of the Australian Tiger Snakes (Notechis) and Copperheads (Austrelaps) (Serpentes, Elapidae). Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria. 103 (2):125-135.

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). Notechis scutatus ater in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:13:01 +1000.