Friday, 28 December 2012

Two new lizard species discovered in Australia


Two new lizard species discovered in the Townsville area of Queensland
December 2012. The Elegant Rainbow Skink and the Orange-flanked Rainbow Skink were originally thought to be members of the Open-litter Rainbow Skink species, but detailed work has revealed that they are separate species.

Dr Conrad Hoskin from JCU's School of Marine and Tropical Biology, and Patrick Couper from the Queensland Museum discovered the two new species. "Both species are small skinks belonging to the genus Carlia, a diverse group of skinks in tropical Australia," Dr Hoskin said.

"The species names (the Elegant Rainbow Skink - Carlia decora - and the Orange-flanked Rainbow Skink - Carlia rubigo - are in reference to the bright colours sported by breeding males of each species; ‘decora' means ‘beautiful' in Latin, with males of that species marked with vivid orange and blue, while ‘rubigo' translates to ‘rust', referring to the rusty orange colour of males of that species."

Dr Hoskin said the Elegant Rainbow Skink was found in forests in the Townsville and Mackay areas.

"It is one of the most common skinks in Townsville gardens and would be familiar to many Townsville residents as the small skink that scurries away into the garden bed. However, the Orange-flanked Rainbow Skink is found in drier areas of eastern and Central Queensland, preferring open forests and rocky areas. It is not found right in Townsville but lives on the rocky ranges around Townsville like Magnetic Island, Cape Cleveland and Herveys Range. The best place to see it around Townsville is Magnetic Island, where it is the most common lizard."

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