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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  • Two new populations of Eared Worm-lizard discovered! April 18, 2019 I must admit, I wasn’t too optimistic about the new tile grids established in 2016. The Swamp Gum Woodland vegetation type seemed quite promising, but summer surveys in 2017 and 2018 had only found skinks and brown snakes!    But on a warm, overcast day in late February 2019 under tile number 1.1, I found it ...
  • An update on the ongoing monitoring of the Eared Worm-Lizard (Aprasia aurita) February 4, 2019 The Eared Worm-Lizard (Aprasia aurita) is an endangered legless lizard species endemic to south-eastern Australia. The species was only relatively recently identified in the South East, with annual surveys conducted since 2012. The surveys occur along the Reedy Creek Range between the months of September and December, using grids of roofing tiles that act as ...
  • Lizards and seeds and mushrooms, oh my! – Lu-Wei’s big year with NGT December 18, 2018 I kicked off my year as an NGT volunteer in February, after making the shift from Wagga Wagga to Mount Gambier in pursuit of environmental work. As a volunteer, I was going on weekly adventures collecting seeds for revegetation, bush-bashing through bracken to help install pitfall traps, paddling in kayaks with Lauren V doing fish surveys, ...
  • 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 ...

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