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Rare lizard found

September 28, 2012

Striped Legless Lizard at Broadford

Back in May, Kay told us about a small “snake” she had come across while planting trees in a paddock on her property at Strath Creek. The significant additional information Kay supplied was that it “squeaked”.  This was a sure indicator that it wasn’t a snake at all, but a legless lizard (Delma sp.), hopefully a Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar)! We passed this information on to Bertram Lobert, coordinator of the Upper Goulburn Striped Legless Lizard Project, who, in the absence of  a corroborative photograph, registered it as an ‘anecdotal’ sighting.

However, this week a confirmed sighting of the Striped Legless Lizard not that far away in Broadford gives weight to Kay’s observation. The following report of the Broadford find was sent by David Laurie of the Dabyminga Catchment Cooperative:

A rare Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar) has been found on a rural property just north of Broadford township (see photo). This is the first time the lizard, listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, has been recorded in the Broadford area. The lizard was found during the Landcare group’s monitoring event on Sunday 23rd September. Led by Bertram Lobert, the monitoring morning attracted 10 local Landcarers who were thrilled with the find. There had been an unconfirmed report of the lizard in 2011 at a nearby property, which prompted the group to undertake a more comprehensive search.

The Striped Legless Lizard is generally found in native grasslands and grassy woodlands, where it spends much of its time within dense grass tussocks or underground in cracks in soils. It feeds on moth larvae as well as crickets and spiders. When disturbed the lizard makes a distinctive squeaking call and, like many skinks, can drop its tail to distract a potential predator. Major threats to the lizard include loss and fragmentation of habitat, the destruction of habitat by the removal of rocks and fallen timber, increased predation by introduced foxes and cats and being killed by landholders after being mistaken for snakes.

The lizard grows to 30 cm long and is the thickness of a pencil. It can be distinguished from the smaller snakes by its longitudinal stripes, the presence of ear openings, having a broad rounded tongue rather than a forked tongue and the small scaly flaps present as vestigial hind limbs.

If you find what you think may be a legless lizard, particularly in the Strath Creek/Flowerdale area, please post a comment on this blog or email either focusonfauna@gmail.com or bertram.lobert@activ8.net.au

For more information on the Striped Legless Lizard in the Goulburn Broken Catchment click HERE.

 

 

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