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Conservation status of the world's skinks (Scincidae): Taxonomic and geographic patterns in extinction risk


Chapple, DG and Roll, U and Bohm, M and Aguilar, R and Amey, AP and Austin, CC and Baling, M and Barley, AJ and Bates, MF and Bauer, AM and Blackburn, DG and Bowles, P and Brown, RM and Chandramouli, SR and Chirio, L and Cogger, H and Colli, GR and Conradie, W and Couper, PJ and Cowan, MA and Craig, MD and Das, I and Datta-Roy, A and Dickman, CR and Ellis, RJ and Fenner, AL and Ford, S and Ganesh, SR and Gardner, MG and Geissler, P and Gillespie, GR and Glaw, F and Greenlees, MJ and Griffith, OW and Grismer, LL and Haines, ML and Harris, DJ and Hedges, SB and Hitchmough, RA and Hoskin, CJ and Hutchinson, MN and Ineich, I and Janssen, J and Johnston, GR and Karin, BR and Keogh, JS and Kraus, F and LeBreton, M and Lymberakis, P and Masroor, R and McDonald, PJ and Mecke, S and Melville, J and Melzer, S and Michael, DR and Miralles, A and Mitchell, NJ and Nelson, NJ and Nguyen, TQ and de Campos Nogueira, C and Ota, H and Pafilis, P and Pauwels, OSG and Perera, A and Pincheira-Donoso, D and Reed, RN and Ribeiro-Junior, MA and Riley, JL and Rocha, S and Rutherford, PL and Sadlier, RA and Shacham, B and Shea, GM and Shine, R and Slavenko, A and Stow, A and Sumner, J and Tallowin, OJS and Teale, R and Torres-Carvajal, O and Trape, JF and Uetz, P and Ukuwela, KDB and Valentine, L and Van Dyke, JU and van Winkel, D and Vasconcelos, R and Vences, M and Wagner, P and Wapstra, E and While, GM and Whiting, MJ and Whittington, CM and Wilson, S and Ziegler, T and Tingley, R and Meiri, S, Conservation status of the world's skinks (Scincidae): Taxonomic and geographic patterns in extinction risk, Biological Conservation, 257 Article 109101. ISSN 0006-3207 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2021 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109101


Our knowledge of the conservation status of reptiles, the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrates, has improved dramatically over the past decade, but still lags behind that of the other tetrapod groups. Here, we conduct the first comprehensive evaluation (∼92% of the world's ∼1714 described species) of the conservation status of skinks (Scincidae), a speciose reptile family with a worldwide distribution. Using International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria, we report that ∼20% of species are threatened with extinction, and nine species are Extinct or Extinct in the Wild. The highest levels of threat are evident in Madagascar and the Neotropics, and in the subfamilies Mabuyinae, Eugongylinae and Scincinae. The vast majority of threatened skink species were listed based primarily on their small geographic ranges (Criterion B, 83%; Criterion D2, 13%). Although the population trend of 42% of species was stable, 14% have declining populations. The key threats to skinks are habitat loss due to agriculture, invasive species, and biological resource use (e.g., hunting, timber harvesting). The distributions of 61% of species do not overlap with protected areas. Despite our improved knowledge of the conservation status of the world's skinks, 8% of species remain to be assessed, and 14% are listed as Data Deficient. The conservation status of almost a quarter of the world's skink species thus remains unknown. We use our updated knowledge of the conservation status of the group to develop and outline the priorities for the conservation assessment and management of the world's skink species.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:extinction risk, IUCN Red List, lizard, protected areas, reptile, skink, taxonomic bias
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Professor Erik Wapstra)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
ID Code:144518
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2021-05-27
Last Modified:2021-06-25

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