Newly Discovered Species of Skinks on the Verge of Extinction

Newly Discovered Species of Skinks on the Verge of Extinction

A latest study has highlighted that over 24 species that have been discovered very recently are on the verge of extinction. Among them is the skink, which is a type of lizard that was recently discovered in the Caribbean. This comes as a big shock as there have been many campaigns under taken by various people to make sure that the ecological balance of nature in the region is maintained. According to the study, the situation is so worse that nearly half of the newly discovered skinks are probably extinct or close to extinct by now.

Blair Hedges, the lead researcher of the study said that the primary cause of this extinction could be blamed on the introduction of mongoose that was introduced to the islands by farmers in the 19th century. The researchers came to this conclusion by examining the specimens in the field as well as in museums. Hedges said, “Now, one of the smallest groups of lizards in this region of the world has become one of the largest groups. We were completely surprised to find what amounts to a new fauna, with co-occurring species and different ecological types”. They identified over 39 species of skinks living in the Caribbean islands out of which six were already known.

The Skinks are very unique among other reptiles due to the fact that they give live birth and produce a human-like placenta. Their pregnancy time is also long spanning over a year. Moreover the mongoose that was introduced from India in 1892, spread rapidly around the island in the next three decades and has been the main contributor in the extermination of the entire reptile fauna. Until now this fact had gone unnoticed by the scientists and conservationist.

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