Common name :

Le petit scinque fouisseur Gracile burrowing skink

Red List Status -

Vulnerable (VU) , assessed in 11/12/2017

Protected species -

in Southern Province , in Northern Province

Graciliscincus shonae is listed as Vulnerable because it has a restricted distribution with an estimation of less than 10 locations, and there is continuing decline in its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and extent and quality of its habitat. Although it is found in seven small reserves, all are impacted by development and mining in surrounding areas as well as by invasive species. Much of the extent of occurrence is unprotected.

Geographical area

Graciliscincus shonae is endemic to Province Sud, New Caledonia. It is known from approximately eight locations across southern Grande Terre (northernmost locality is Mt Dzumac). It occurs at elevations between 150 and 900 m. The extent of occurrence is estimated at  813 km2 and the area of occupancy at 52 km2.


There are no quantitative data on population size and trends for this species. It is expected to have undergone a major reduction in area of occupancy and total population size as a consequence of the widespread clearance of closed forest habitat that has occurred for settlement, agriculture, logging and mining. Substantial areas of forest habitat have also been lost from recurrent wildfires in the adjacent maquis shrublands. These impacts are ongoing. This species is uncommon at all the localities it has been found.


This species inhabits low to mid-elevation closed humid forests and montane forest. It is diurno-nocturnal, cryptozoic, and terrestrial. It shelters beneath logs, rocks and deep leaf litter, and in soil crevices. Usually forages in cover or in the open in low-light situations.


The greatest threats to this species is loss and fragmentation of habitat from clearance of closed forests (particularly by the rapidly expanding mining industry in the Grand Sud and Tontouta Valley area) and from wildfires in maquis shrublands damaging forest margins. Afforestation is a local threat in the Grand Sud.  High-density populations of introduced pigs threaten habitat quality, particularly by damaging the litter layer and disrupting cover (such as rocks and logs). In low to mid-elevation forests the introduced ant Wasmannia auropunctata is expected to have an adverse impact. The combined impact of these threats will be greatest on isolated forest remnants and in some cases is expected to lead to local extirpation of skinks.


This species is protected in Province Nord under Code de l'environnement de la Province Nord (Délibération No. 306-2008/APN, 24 October 2008) and in Province Sud under Code de l'environnement de la Province Sud (Délibération No. 25-2009/APS, 20 March 2009). Graciliscincus shonae is present in Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue and Barrage de Yaté. No active conservation management is being undertaken.


Uetz, P. (ed.) 2017. The Reptile Database.

Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2002. The scincid lizard Graciliscincus shonae (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific: a review of the species’ morphology, distribution and conservation status. Zoologia Neocaledonica 5, Mémoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle(187) , p.269-276.

IUCN 2021. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2021-2.

Jourdan, H., Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2000. Premières observations sur les conséquences de l’invasion de Wasmannia auropunctata 1863 (Roger) sur les prédateurs supérieurs dans les écosystèmes Néo-calédoniens. Actes des collectes insectes sociaux(13) , p.121-126.

Bauer, A.M. and Sadlier, R.A. 2000. The Herpetofauna of New Caledonia.

Jourdan, H., Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2001. Little Fire Ant Invasion (Wasmannia auropunctata) as a threat to New Caledonian lizards: Evidences from a sclerophyll forest (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology(38) , p.283-301.


Assessor(s): Sadlier, R., Bauer, A., Jourdan, H., Astrongatt, S., Deuss, M., Duval, T., Bourguet, E., McCoy, S., Bouteiller, A., Lagrange, A.

Reviewer(s): Cox, N.

Contributor(s): Whitaker, A.

Facilitator(s): Lietar, J., Tanguy, V., Warimavute, G.

Geographical distribution