Conservation status of New Zealand reptiles, 2012

New Zealand

Abstract: The conservation status of all known New Zealand reptile taxa was reassessed using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). A full list is presented, along with a statistical summary and brief notes on the most important changes. This list replaces all previous NZTCS lists for reptiles.

Summary: Hitchmough et al. (2010) presented results of the first known complete audit (carried out in 2009) of the conservation status of New Zealand reptiles, including marine migrant and vagrant species, and introduced species—a total of 109 taxa. The conservation status of these taxa was assessed using New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) criteria (Townsend et al. 2008). We have repeated this status assessment 3 years later, as suggested by Townsend et al. (2008). The categories, criteria and process were identical between the two listings, and most of the panel members (the authors of Hitchmough et al. 2010 and this document) were the same.
We assessed the status of 110 taxa, including 45 unnamed entities (41% of the total, and 45% of the native lizards, the group to which all the undescribed entities belong). One additional species of Vagrant sea snake (the blue-lipped sea krait Laticauda laticaudata) has been recorded in New Zealand since the publication of Hitchmough et al. (2010). No other new taxa were added and circumscriptions of all taxa were unchanged. There were some name changes between the two assessments (Table 1) resulting from the formal descriptions of some skink species previously listed as tag-named Taxonomically Indeterminate entities (Chapple et al. 2011), the elevation of the two former subspecies of Naultinus elegans to full species and the splitting of the gecko genus Hoplodactylus into six genera (Neilson et al. 2011). There are now no recognised or proposed subspecies of New Zealand reptiles—all described taxa are full species and all undescribed entities are considered to be likely species.

Authors: Rod Hitchmough, Peter Anderson, Ben Barr, Jo Monks, Marieke Lettink, James Reardon, Mandy Tocher and Tony Whitaker

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