Characteristics of the burrows of Slater's skink, Liopholis slateri

Aaron Fenner, Christoph Pavey, Christopher Bull

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Slater's skink, Liopholis slateri, is an endangered, burrow dwelling scincid, confined to the desert river floodplains of central Australia. This species has undergone a significant population decline over the past 40 years probably due to a loss of suitable habitat for burrow construction caused by changes in land use, the invasion of exotic weeds and altered fire regimes. In this paper we describe the characteristics of natural burrows and their physical association with other environmental features. Lizards were found to construct relatively complex, multi-entranced (up to 10 entrances) burrow systems in mounds of soil, ranging from 4.5-33 cm in height and 3.12-10.36 m basal circumference, that had formed under shrubs ranging from 0.42-3.22 m in height. We also found that the temperature inside one burrow was substantially lower during the hottest part of the day, and showed substantially less daily temperature variation than experienced outside of the burrow. We found no evidence that lizards had a preferred compass direction for orientating their burrow openings. This study provides baseline data to enable the development of artificial burrow systems for use in future habitat restoration projects, possible translocations and captive breeding programmes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)115-121
    Number of pages7
    JournalHerpetological Journal
    Volume22
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

    Keywords

    • Arid zone
    • Artificial burrows
    • Conservation
    • Egernia refuges
    • Lizard

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    Fenner, A., Pavey, C., & Bull, C. (2012). Characteristics of the burrows of Slater's skink, Liopholis slateri. Herpetological Journal, 22(2), 115-121.