Nature conservation

Threatened species

Marble-faced Delma - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Delma australis
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 12 Sep 2003
Profile last updated: 01 Jun 2020


The Marble-faced Delma (also known as the Southern Legless Lizard) is a slender pygopid (legless lizard) that has an average snout-vent length of about nine centimetres, with the tail twice as long as the body. It is brown to reddish brown above, while the undersurface and lips are off-white or greyish. The top and sides of the head, throat and ventral surface is covered in vertical black bars, while the snout is short and rounded.


This species is widely distributed from Western Australia, through much of South Australia extending in to the southern Northern Territory and in north western Victoria and south western NSW. In NSW, most records are either from the Scotia mallee west of the Darling River in the far south west or from the central Murray centred on Round Hill and Nombinnie Nature Reserves. Recent surveys have detected this species east of the Darling River to the north of Wentworth and, more surprisingly, in spinifex occurring on rocky hillsides to the north west of Broken Hill.

Habitat and ecology

  • In NSW, appears to be restricted to temperate mallee woodlands or spinifex grasslands but elsewhwere is also found in chenopod shrublands, heathlands and buloke associated with mallee habitats or eucalypt lined watercourses. The species occupies areas with a sandy substrate but may also utilise cracking red loam soils, but has also recently been recorded in spinifex on rocky hillsides.
  • Found in deep leaf litter, under rocks, logs, fallen timber or in grass clumps such as spinifex. They are considered to be terrestrial although they may climb into hummock grass and even sleep in the branches of small shrubs.
  • They are generally active during the day but have been observed being active at night or around sunrise and sunset.
  • They are active hunters and their main food consists of various types of insects and spiders.
  • Lays two eggs in November or December which hatch after approximately 70 days.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Known None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Known None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
Other StateSA Known None