West Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has approved changes recommended by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee to amend the list of threatened flora and fauna in WA.
The committee is made up of 10 independent scientists with specialists knowledge of the State’s flora and fauna and the conservation of threatened species.
The Airlie Islands Ctenotus, also known as Northwestern coastal Ctenotus (Ctentotus angusticeps), has been removed from the list of threatened species after targeted surveys significantly increased the known distribution of the species.
The lizard was first thought to only exist on Airlie Island off the Pilbara coast, but was later discovered on the mainland at Roebuck Bay.
It is now known to inhabit several sites along the coast between Onslow and Broome, with genetic work confirming that the mainland lizards are the same as the Airlie Islands species.
Four species of flora, Asterolasia nivea, Asterolasia sp. Kalgan River, Cryptandra congesta and Stylidium wilroyense, were also removed from the threatened flora list following a review of their conservation status against international criteria.
Another species of flora, Opercularia acolytantha, was thought to be extinct until work by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions discovered that several specimens of the species had been incorrectly identified and it is now known to exist in a number of locations.
Further studies into the flora and fauna of Western Australia have resulted in two species of fauna and nine species of flora being added to the threatened species list.
A major taxonomic review of the threatened shield-backed trapdoor spider, Idiosoma nigrum, resulted in the species being split into additional new species. Two of these species of trapdoor spider were added to the threatened fauna list as endangered species, while the original Idiosoma nigrum has been upgraded from vulnerable to the higher threat category of endangered.
Eight species of flora were added to the list of extant threatened flora species as a result of targeted survey work that demonstrated those species met the international criteria for threatened species.
These species were Acacia shapelleae, Bossiaea sp. Frankland, Eremophila glabra subsp. Scaddan, Hibbertia sp. Toolbrunup, Lasiopetalum sp. Mount Caroline, Lepidosperma bungalbin, Melaleuca sp. Wanneroo and Stylidium asymmetricum.
Another plant species, Myriocephalus nudus, is only known from the original specimen collected by James Drummond, the first Government Botanist in Western Australia, in the early 1840s.
The species appears to have grown in wet claypan areas on the Swan Coastal Plain, but has not been rediscovered despite intensive searching. This species has been added to the list of presumed extinct flora.