The Pink-tailed Worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) was declared a vulnerable species in 2008. It is a small worm-like legless lizard with a slender body, a blunt head and a long round-tipped pinkish tail. The lizards (like others in the family Pygopidae) lack fore-limbs and have their hind limbs reduced to small inconspicuous vestigial flaps.
The habitat of the lizards is largely confined to rocky landscapes. This rarely seen small lizard lives mostly underground in the burrows of certain type of ant nests, where it feeds on the eggs and larvae of the ants.
The Pink-tailed Worm-lizard was once widespread in south-eastern Australia, but is now confined to only a few sites scattered between the ACT and Victoria. In the ACT the lizard can be found along the slopes of the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee River corridors and on adjacent outlying hills including Mount Taylor, Cooleman Ridge, Urambi Hills, The Pinnacle and Mount Stromlo.
The majority of the sites that the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard occurs in nature reserves are under protection.
The Pink-tailed Worm-lizard is adversely affected by removal of rocks that can lead to less ant nests, loss of vegetation cover by overgrazing, severe summer bushfires, encroachment by weeds, and predators including native birds as well as introduced animals such as cats.
The ACT Government is taking a number of actions to protect the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard and conserve its habitat.
Proposed actions include formally protecting key populations, monitoring abundance, undertaking community awareness activities as well as implementing appropriate management activities, such as grazing and slashing, to conserve the species and its habitat.
The Conservator of Flora and Fauna, with advice from the Scientific Committee, is responsible for preparing and finalising action plans for each species listed as threatened in the ACT. Submissions received during the public consultation will inform the final Action Plan to be tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
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