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 Alix Baltais or Cath Dickson.

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

Click here for the full list of project related blogs