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 Endangered as Bellatorias obiri
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008xs) [Conservation Advice].
 
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2006y) [Listing 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
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (43) (14/08/2006) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006g) [Legislative Instrument] as Egernia obiri.
 
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 Bellatorias obiri.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory-Arnhem Land Egernia Egernia obiri (Ward, S., J. Woinarski & M. Armstrong, 2012) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
NT: Listed as Endangered (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): 2012 list) as Egernia obiri
Scientific name Bellatorias obiri [83161]
Family Scincidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Wells and Wellington, 1984)
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 arnhemensis [59218]
Egernia obiri [79229]
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

Egernia obiri is considered to be a conventionally accepted species. However, until recently, the species was more widely known as Egernia arnhemensis (Sadlier 1990).

The Arnhem Land Egernia is a large (> 20 cm snout-to-vent length), thickset, ground-dwelling lizard of the skink family. It is grey to light brown above, with a brown lengthwise streak. Toward the head, the sides are dark with irregular patches that merge into faint transverse bands between the front and back legs. The legs are short and chunky (DIPE 2006).

The Arnhem Land Egernia is restricted to the western Arnhem Land plateau and its outlying regions (for example Jabiluka) in the Northern Territory. Within this range, it has been recorded at 10 locations.

The extent of occurrence of the Arnhem Land Egernia is likely to be similar to that of other endemics of the western Arnhem Land massif, and has been estimated to be approximately 34 000 km² (Woinarski et al. 2006).

The total area of occupancy of the Arnhem Land Egernia is considered to be less than 50 km² (J. Woinarski 2006a, pers. comm.).

The isolated nature of the Arnhem Land Egernia locations (DIPE 2006) means that the distribution of the species is likely to be fragmented.

The most successful survey for the Arnhem Land Egernia occurred during mammal surveys at Nawurlandja in the late 1970s, when many Arnhem Land Egernia individuals were caught as "by-catch" (Begg et al. 1981). However, no Arnhem Land Egernias have been caught in this location in more recent surveys that used identical procedures (Watson & Woinarski 2003). A recent study conducted at all previously known Arnhem Land Egernia sites caught only a single individual, observed one more, and found the desiccated remains of another in a shallow cave (Armstrong & Dudley 2004).

There is little information on the population size of the Arnhem Land Egernia. The limited data suggest that its distribution is very patchy, with the population consisting of a set of semi-isolated subpopulations (DIPE 2006). The Arnhem Land Egernia has been recorded at ten locations and extensive migration between these is unlikely (J. Woinarski 2006a, pers. comm.).

In the 24 years following the mammal survey at Nawurlandja which recorded a number of Arnhem Land Egernia individuals, there have been fewer than 10 records of the species. No Arnhem Land Egernias have been caught at Nawurlandja in recent surveys (Watson & Woinarski 2003), although one was observed there in 1991 (Armstrong & Dudley 2004). It could be inferred from these records that the species is in decline.

Other large species of Egernia mature when about five years old, and can live to more than 10 years. It is estimated that the generation time of the Arnhem Land Egernia is probably in the order of seven to eight years (Greer 1989).

Approximately one quarter of the known range and distribution of the Arnhem Land Egernia is included in Kakadu National Park. The species has not been recorded from any other conservation reserves in the Northern Territory.

The Arnhem Land Egernia is largely restricted to sandstone outcrops, typically with extensive fissures and cave systems. The species is probably at least partly nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) (Sadlier 1990).

The ecology of the Arnhem Land Egernia is poorly known. While the available data on past, current and future threats impacting on the species is limited, there are threatening processes operating within the Arnhem Land plateau which are likely to have adversely affected the species in the past and continue to do so (TSSC 2006y). The species may be affected by changes in food resources caused by altered fire regimes or predation by cats. Cane toads, Bufo marinus, may also affect the Arnhem Land Egernia by poisoning (Armstrong & Dudley 2004). It will be difficult to determine the impact of these and other threats without a more detailed understanding of the biology of this species, and its population and distribution status.

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2006at) recommended the following priority recovery and threat abatement actions for this species:

  • Undertake further research aimed at establishing the distribution, abundance and ecological requirements of the Arnhem Land Egernia.
  • Encourage appropriate burning regimes across the known range of the species.
  • Manage the presence of feral cats.

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 obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2006y) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2006y) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Rhinella marina (Cane Toad) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008xs) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2006y) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008xs) [Conservation Advice].
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia obiri (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008xs) [Conservation Advice].

Armstrong, M. & A. Dudley (2004). The Arnhem Land egernia Egernia obiri in Kakadu National Park. Report to Parks Australia (North).

Begg, R.J., K.C. Martin & N.F. Price (1981). The small mammals of Little Nourlangie Rock, Northern Territory V. The effects of fire. Australian Wildlife Research. 8:515-527.

Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment (DIPE) (2006). Biodiversity Conservation Section, Northern Territory Government.

Greer, A.E. (1989). The biology and evolution of Australian lizards. Sydney: Surrey Beatty & Sons.

Sadlier, R.A. (1990). A new species of scincid lizard from western Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The Beagle. 7:29-33.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2006at). NON-APPROVED Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Egernia obiri. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/egernia-obiri.html.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2006y). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Egernia obiri. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/egernia-obiri.html.

Watson, M. & J. Woinarski (2003). Vertebrate monitoring and resampling in Kakadu National Park, 2002. Report to Parks Australia North. Page(s) 2002. Darwin: Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory.

Woinarski, J. (2006a). Personal communication.

Woinarski, J.C.Z., C. Hempel, I. Cowie, K. Brennan, R. Kerrigan, G. Leach & J. Russell-Smith (2006). Distributional pattern of plant species endemic to the Northern Territory, Australia. Australian Journal of Botany. 54(7):627-640.

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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). Bellatorias obiri in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sun, 31 Aug 2014 07:11:25 +1000.