The search for our elusive Eared Worm-lizard!

The Eared Worm-lizard (Aprasia aurita) is a very exciting and relatively new discovery for South Australia. Previously recorded individuals believed to be the Striped Worm-lizard that were collected near Millicent, have since been reassessed, resulting in their correct identification as the Eared Worm-lizard (Hutchinson et al., 2007).

Prior to this discovery, the Eared Worm-lizard’s range was believed to be exclusive to the Mallee region in north-west Victoria, where it is highly restricted, contributing to a threatened listing in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. However, there are now three known locations where the Eared Worm-lizard has been found in South Australia and we are fortunate that one has been regularly surveyed by ForestrySA in recent times.

Eared Worm-lizard (Aprasia aurita) (c) B Haywood

Eared Worm-lizard (Aprasia aurita) (c) B Haywood

To the right is an Eared Worm-lizard found at Malones Native Forest Reserve. The Eared Worm-lizard is distinguishable from a plainly marked Striped Worm-lizard by its ear flap and dark marks on each scale forming lines towards the tail (Wilson and Swan, 2003). Individuals in Victorian populations generally grow to around 110mm (Wilson and Swan, 2003).

Nature Glenelg Trust, with the help of land managers, the wider community and grant funding generously provided by Nature Foundation SA , are hoping to establish a more comprehensive understanding of this species’ distribution and preferred habitat type in the South East. The sites that will be investigated as potential habitat for this species are located across private land, Forestry SA conservation areas and Reserves managed by National Parks and Wildlife SA (DEWNR). Many thanks to these land managers for sharing their time and expertise with us for this project, and providing us with access for the upcoming survey.

Nature Glenelg Trust also extends a big welcome to Alix Baltais, who is undertaking her University work placement with NGT until the end of the year.  Alix is from the University of Queensland and already has a diversity of experience in the environmental field.  Alix will be managing the Eared Worm-lizard project, including the field research, data collation, data analaysis  and writing up the results towards the end of 2012. This is a big boost to this exciting new project!

Cath and Alix with a small skink (Hemiergis peronii) caught under the tiles

Cath and Alix with a small skink (Hemiergis peronii) caught under the tiles

If you’d like to find out more about this project or get involved with the search please get in contact with us!  You can email or .

Special thanks to Nature Foundation SA for making this project possible.

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  • Roofing tiles are working a treat for finding rare reptiles November 27, 2016 The annual monitoring event for the South Australian population of Eared Worm-lizards was recently undertaken at Furner forest, north of Millicent in the lower South East. The Eared Worm Lizard or Aprasia aurita, only discovered in South Australia in 1997, is a species of legless lizard endemic to south-eastern Australia and is listed as critically ...
  • Our very own eared worm lizard makes a guest appearance in Ireland… April 25, 2015 … well, in a virtual sense that is! During the week I was contacted by John O’Brien from Ireland, who uses his blog to draw attention to critically endangered species that are not so charismatic as the ones we usually hear about. It seems that our work on the eared worm lizard (Aprasia aurita) caught John’s attention, so ...
  • New populations found of the cryptic Eared Worm-lizard November 13, 2013 Cath has sent through this summary of her trip with community members to Eared Worm-lizard sites last weekend – with some great news to report … Last Sunday the Millicent Field Naturalists, Friends of Mount Gambier Parks and other community members joined Mark Hutchinson (SA Museum), Bryan Haywood (ForestrySA) and I to resurvey the new tile ...
  • On the hunt again for a cryptic local reptile… April 10, 2013 Last weekend the Biodiversity Up Close events focused on all things scaly.  The events were kicked off by Dr Mark Hutchinson, Senior Researcher and Reptile Curator at the South Australian Museum, who presented at the well attended Millicent Field Naturalists monthly meeting.  Mark provided a fascinating look at one of Millicent’s most elusive and rare ...
  • A new population of Eared Worm-lizard for the final spring survey round! December 23, 2012 Our final survey round of the year uncovered another new population for South Australia! We were lucky enough to be joined by Mark Hutchinson, Senior Researcher, Herpetology at the South Australian Museum.  We were hoping that, although late in the season, we would be able to find some animals and have plenty of time to ...
  • Farewell, and back to the Sunshine State for Alix… December 17, 2012 It is hard to believe but time is up for NGT’s first work placement University student – Alix Baltais, who begins the journey back home this week. None of us can quite work out where the last few months have gone, but one thing is for sure – both Alix and NGT have benefited greatly from the ...
  • New Aprasia aurita Population! December 2, 2012 By Alix Baltais This week we bring some particularly exciting news for the Aprasia project. We have discovered a new population of Aprasia aurita!! While only one individual female was found we hope we can find a few more as the weeks progress.  This site is quite small in relation to the other sites where the species ...
  • Eared Worm Lizard News – Things have heated up! November 24, 2012 By Alix Baltais As we predicted, with the warmer weather our success with detecting reptiles has increased. Recent surveys have brought out many more of our opportunistically recorded species which is very exciting (refer to previous blog for list). Most exciting however is that a recent check of the tiles revealed three more Aprasias who we haven’t ...
  • Eared Worm Lizard Project Update – so how do you tell one lizard from the next? October 18, 2012 By Alix Baltais To date we have conducted 2 ½ rounds of our tile grids with the other half to be completed within the week.  There has been a distinct increase of diversity and numbers as the weather has warmed and our escapee rate has decreased as well with the introduction of our ‘ring-of-confidence’  to place ...
  • Aprasia Success on Day 1! September 22, 2012 After leaving the tile grids to settle in for six weeks, Cath and myself (Alix) checked the first half of our sites yesterday. While unfortunately our first site didn’t reveal anything under the tiles, the rest were a great success! We found two of our target species Aprasia aurita (Eared Worm-lizard) along with multiple Lerista bougainvillii ...

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