Two new lizard species found in Queensland rainforest

Cape Melville rainbow skink and Cape Melville bar-lipped skink bring the tally of species unknown to science that have been found in small, remote area to eight

A Cape Melville rainbow skink. Photograph: Conrad Hoskin

Two species of lizard previously unknown to science have been uncovered in a remote part of far north Queensland.

Dr Conrad Hoskin, a researcher at James Cook university, found the two species after landing by helicopter in a largely inaccessible area of rainforest on top of the Melville range, about 170km north of Cooktown.

The species have been named as the Cape Melville rainbow skink and the Cape Melville bar-lipped skink. The scientific names of the species – Carlia wundalthini and Glaphyromorphus othelarrni – were chosen by local Aboriginal leaders in a nod to previous traditional owners of the land.

Hoskin said the discoveries were “very exciting” and added to three other species he uncovered during a series of trips to Cape Melville last year: a leaf-tailed gecko, a boulder frog and a golden lizard.

“In each of those cases, as soon as I saw them I knew they were new species,” he told Guardian Australia.

The Cape Melville bar-lipped skink. Photograph: Conrad Hoskin

“I was walking around on my first day there and saw a lizard and thought ‘wow, that’s something different’. And then that night I saw something moving in some mulch by a boulder, I pulled it out and it was another new kind of lizard.”

The rainbow skink is only about 10cm long, with shimmering scales. It is very fast and active during the day, eating small insects. Meanwhile, the bar-lipped skink is slightly larger, about 20cm long, and lives a more subdued life, emerging mostly at dusk.

Hoskin’s discovery of five new species in total adds to a further three species found at Cape Melville in the past few decades. The entire global populations of these eight endemic species live within the rainforest plateau and lowland area of Cape Melville.

Source: TheGuardian read and see more

 

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