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CDFW Seeks Information Related to Temblor Legless Lizard
  • August 14, 2022
Temblor legless lizard, photo by Noah Morales

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking data and comments on a proposal to list the Temblor legless lizard under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

The Temblor legless lizard (Anniella alexanderae) is a unique, limbless lizard endemic to the alkali desert scrub and annual grasslands of the southwestern San Joaquin Valley, east of the Temblor mountains at 168–466 meters (551–1,529 feet) elevation. This burrowing and crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) species uses the ground surface, soil and leaf litter for feeding and mating. Temblor legless lizards eat larval insects, adult beetles, termites and spiders. Threats include habitat loss due to development, urbanization, agriculture, climate change and invasive species. Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation can restrict the species’ ability to feed, burrow and reproduce.

On November 18, 2021, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to list the Temblor legless lizard as a threatened or endangered species under CESA. The Commission published findings of its decision to advance the species to candidacy on July 1, 2022, and as such, Temblor legless lizard now receives the same legal protection afforded to an endangered or threatened species (California Fish and Game Code, sections 2074.2 and 2085).

Map showing central California range for the Temblor legless lizard.

Over the next 12 months, CDFW will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s final decision on whether to list the species under CESA. As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting information regarding the species’ ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, the degree and immediacy of threats to its reproduction or survival, the adequacy of existing management and recommendations for management of the species.

Comments must be submitted prior to October 1, 2022. Comments may be submitted by email to wildlifemgt@wildlife.ca.gov; please include “Temblor legless lizard” in the subject line. Comments may also be submitted by mail to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Diversity Program, Attn: CESA Conservation Unit, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090.

CDFW will produce a peer-reviewed report based upon the best scientific information available, which will indicate whether the petitioned action is warranted and will include related recommendations from CDFW staff (FGC, section 2074.6). The report will be made publicly available on CDFW’s website at for at least 30 days before the Commission considers acting on the petition. Pursuant to FGC, section 2075.5, the Commission — which is a legally separate entity from CDFW — is charged with making the final determination on whether to list a species as endangered or threatened under CESA. CDFW serves in an advisory role to the Commission during this process.

The listing petition, CDFW’s petition evaluation report and updates on the status of this process are available on the Commission’s website.

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Media Contacts:
Katrina Smith, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 207-5573
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714 

Photo:
Temblor legless lizard © Noah Morales

Categories: Rare Species, Species, Wildlife Health


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