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#ThreatenedThursday: Retro Slider

#ThreatenedThursday: Retro Slider

August 6, 2020


SPECIES: Lerista allanae — Allan’s Lerista, Retro Slider

CLASSIFICATION: Endangered


It must be a bad situation to ‘make’ the worldwide IUCN Red List. Not only do we nationally deem the Retro Slider as endangered, worldwide, it’s considered critically endangered. In fact, the Retro Slider was presumed extinct in recent years and was only rediscovered in 2009.


Back up a step, and let me introduce the Retro Slider. Sounds cool. A Slider is a burrowing skink, usually with reduced limbs, short or few toes or even limbs missing altogether. The Retro Slider has tiny back legs and no front legs and grows to about 15cm, most of which is tail. It’s grey and brown in colour and each scale has a black dot or streak on it. The Slider is endemic to Queensland. It’s such a difficult species to detect and as a result, little is known about its lifecycle, reproductive behaviour, diet or feeding habits. We believe the Retro Slider to be nocturnal and we believe the Retro Slider feeds on termites. We believe the Retro Slider lives under loose leaf litter and in sandy soils.


What is fact is that the species has become increasingly fragmented mostly due to land clearing (for agriculture and development). Agricultural insecticides used to control termites have inadvertently impacted them, as Sliders rely on termites for food. Drough, flood, feral cats and foxes also take their toll on the fragmented populations continuing to survive.