Drowning in a sea of development: distribution and conservation status of a sand-swimming lizard, Plestidon reynoldsi

Pike, David A., and Roznik, Elizabeth A. (2009) Drowning in a sea of development: distribution and conservation status of a sand-swimming lizard, Plestidon reynoldsi. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 4 (1). pp. 96-105.

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Abstract

Many reptile species are declining, yet there is little information on the current distribution and conservation status of most species, let alone how this may change with future development of natural habitats. We studied the distribution, habitat associations, and conservation status of Florida Sand Skinks (Plestiodon reynoldsi), a fossorial sand-swimming lizard endemic to Florida, USA. We used data collected between 1912 and 2006 to map the distribution of occurrences of this species and used Geographic Information System (GIS) data layers to determine the habitats in which it occurs. We found that Florida Sand Skinks occupy many different habitat types throughout their range, including human-altered areas used for agriculture. However, Florida Sand Skinks appear to be absent from urban areas. Between 1974 and 2004, the amount of natural habitat available to support populations declined by 17.8% (5.9% per decade), and this trend is predicted to continue until at least the year 2060. Projections of future development of natural and disturbed habitats show linear increases during this same time, and will further fragment the remaining natural habitats. This makes protection of habitat for this species an immediate and real concern. Florida Sand Skinks (and other sympatric species) are rapidly losing habitat due to urbanization, and much of the remaining natural habitat outside of protected areas could be lost during the next several decades.

Item ID: 26758
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: fossorial reptile, future land use, geographic distribution, habitat loss, museum records, Neoseps, urbanization
ISSN: 1931-7603
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2013 11:03
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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