Hope in Sight for the re-discovery of the lost Ghana Worm Lizard (Cynisca kraussi)

Hands of Ghanaian Tropical Biology Association Alumni on Deck

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe Ghana worm lizard is an endangered reptile, endemic to Ghana; more so, it is restricted to only the Bandai Hills Forest Reserve in southern-eastern Ghana. Since its discovery in 1987, and claims of its last sighting in 2005, there had not been any dedicated focal surveys to locate the species Thus there is missing knowledge on its biology and ecology, a major drawback for the successful management and conservation of the endangered worm lizard.

However, the species is fortunate as its cause has been taken up by a group of talented and committed Ghanaian Tropical Biology Association (TBA) alumni local scientists. The project, funded by the TBA Small Grants is led by Gilbert Baase Adum, and co-directed by Caleb Ofori Boateng and Jacqueline Sapoama Kumadoh. The project aims to survey locations for the worm lizard and alongside, the group is also recording the presence of other herpetofauna (lizards, frogs, toads, turtles and snakes).

Specimen of Ghana worm lizard © Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Specimen of Ghana worm lizard © Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Surveys for the dry season have successfully been completed. We recorded 10 species of reptiles (2 snakes and 3 lizards) and amphibians (3 frogs and 2 toads). Unfortunately, we failed to locate our main target species, the Ghana Worm Lizard.

Measurement of leaf litter by the team
Measurement of leaf litter by the team

But the search continues as there is hope to locate it on our next visit when the early rains will arrive in March/April, or at worst to locate it during any period of the rainy season when the worm lizards are said to be more active. We got this valuable information from the local people, with some of them claiming to have seen it during the last rainy reason.

We thank TBA for their usual support and we hope our efforts pay off in locating our prize!

Gilbert Baase Adum (10/1 Amani)
(for Ghanaian TBA Alumni Association)

Souce for specimen picture: http://mczbase.mcz.harvard.edu/guid/MCZ:Herp:R-55189

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