Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar) - A vulnerable species

The Striped Legless Lizard ( Delma impar ) is found in south-eastern Australia where it lives primarily in natural temperate grassland that is dominated by perennial tussock grasses. It grows to about 300 mm in length and feeds on a variety of arthropods including spiders, crickets, cockroaches and caterpillars.

It is estimated that 99.5% of Australia's natural temperate grassland has been lost or grossly altered since European settlement. There has been a correspondingly substantial contraction in the distribution of the Striped Legless Lizard. It is currently known to occur at several locations in the basalt plains to the north and west of Melbourne in Victoria, with isolated records near Yass, Goulburn, Cooma, Batlow and immediately north of the ACT in NSW. There are four separate locations in the ACT-in grassland areas of Gungahlin, Majura and Jerrabomberra Valleys, and Yarramundi Reach on the shores of Lake Burly Griffin. Gungahlin appears to be the stronghold of the species in the ACT region.

Conservation Threats

Most areas where the Striped Legless Lizard is still to be found have been subject only to low or moderate levels of disturbance and this seems to be a key survival factor.

The major perceived threats to the continued survival of the Striped Legless Lizard are:

  • loss and fragmentation of habitat through clearing of grassland for urban and agricultural development;
  • modification and degradation of grassland habitat through incompatible land management practices; and
  • other potential effects of urbanisation including increased predation and unplanned fires.

Conservation Action

The primary conservation objective is to maintain several healthy and viable populations of the Striped Legless Lizard in the ACT. This is to be achieved by:

  • improving our understanding of the species' biology and its ecological needs so that management for conservation can be improved; and
  • protecting a range of grassland sites that are known to support the species.

More information

Striped Legless Lizard Action Plan

Contact Details

Parks and City Services (PACS)

Contact Number
13 22 81
Postal Address
GPO Box 158 Canberra ACT 2601
Facsimile Number
(02) 6207 5366 (Head Office)
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