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California’s Island Night Lizard Removed from Endangered Species List

Xantusia riversiana has been on the Endangered Species List since 1977.

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The island night lizard,  (Xantusia riversiana) a lizard that can only be found on the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California, has been removed from the Endangered Species List, after nearly 40 years of protections. The lizard’s populations have recovered so much that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended last year that it be removed from the list.


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The tiny lizard, which despite its name is active during the day, was declared a threatened species in 1977, largely due to the introduction of nonnative pigs and goats to the islands. The USFWS began a recovery plan that was wildly successful. In 2013, the service said there are about 21.3 million lizards on San Clemente Island, 15,300 on San Nicolas Island, and 17,600 on Santa Barbara Island.

The omnivorous lizard grows to about 4 inches in length with coloration that varies from pale gray to brown or black with striped or mottled patterns. It is a livebearer and is also a slow growing species. It is estimated that the lizard can live more than 30 years.

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