To celebrate World Lizard Day on the 14 August and National Science Week, our #CouchCurator and Senior Curator of Reptiles, Patrick Couper is shining the spotlight on one species of Skink – Nangur Skink (Nangura spinosa).
The Nangur Skink was discovered in 1992 when a single specimen was dug from a dry creek bed in Nangur State Forest. The discovery was made by staff from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service who sent the specimen to the Queensland Museum for formal identification. It was immediately recognised as something new to science and prompted the museum’s herpetologists to visit the collection site to assess the habitat and to search for further specimens. The skinks were difficult to find until it was realised that they lived in burrows on slopes, well above the creek bed. The first burrow had been a lucky find that had led to the discovery and description of one of Queensland’s most distinctive lizards. This highlights the importance of fauna surveys and shows that even small patches of rainforest can harbour strange new species. Follow-up surveys showed that the skinks had a tiny distribution within Nangur State Forest. A second, larger population was discovered in 1997, 40 km east of the original location. Both populations are now closely monitored and the species is listed as Critically Endangered under federal legislation.
The description of this species can be found in Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 1993 volume 34. View online here.