Conservation status of the dwarf crag lizard, Pseudocordylus nebulosus, from the Hottentots Holland Mountains, South Africa

Costandius E. ; Mouton P. le F.N. ; Boucher C. (2006)


The dwarf crag lizard, Pseudocordylus nebulosus, is one of several relict ectotherm species associated with the mistbelt of the Cape Fold Mountains. Prior to this study, it was only known from a single locality in the Hottentots Holland Mountains. The extent of occurrence of P. nebulosus was determined, resource partitioning among the three melanistic cordylids (C. oelofseni, P. capensis and P. nebulosus), co-occurring in this area, investigated, and the conservation status of P. nebulosus re-evaluated. The extent of occurrence of P. nebulosus was estimated to be only 11 km2. Of the three melanistic cordylids, P. nebulosus has by far the smallest range, completely overlapping the ranges of both the other two melanistic cordylids. Pseudocordylus nebulosus was found to show a distinct affinity for surface water such as mountain streams and seepage areas. Distinct differences in resource partitioning were found among the three species regarding crevice selection, which should prevent any significant competition during periods of environmental stress. Although inappropriate fire management and global warming may be immediate threats to the survival of this species, the threats posed by the popular hiking trail in the area are probably less significant than were previously thought. It is proposed that the Vulnerable status for this species be maintained and that the status of the species should be closely monitored. This study provides baseline data that could be used in future monitoring programmes to predict declines and fluctuations.

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