Rare skink discovered at AWC sanctuaries in the Kimberley

Rare skink discovered at AWC sanctuaries in the Kimberley
Charnley River – Artesian Range | Mornington-Marion Downs
Field Program
Science: surveys and research

AWC ecologists in the Kimberley have carried out the first ecological research into one of Australia’s most elusive lizards, the Kimberley Crevice-skink (Egernia douglasi).

The skinks had been recorded from just a handful of sites prior to AWC’s work, with just one single sighting made in the past 30 years. Since 2012, AWC has discovered new populations of the skinks at Charnley River-Artesian Range, Mornington, and now Yampi. Most were found by deploying camera traps along the edge of rocky ranges.

Growing up to 36 cm long, Kimberley Crevice-skinks belong to a group of large lizards in the genus Egernia, some of which have complex social lives and live communally in extended family groups.

Very little is known about the habitat preferences and behaviour of the Kimberley species, but preliminary work suggests that fruit may form part of their diet, and they appear to be active only during the warmer months of the wet season (September – April). The skinks were recorded moving over short distances, and likely have a relatively small home range.

Further fieldwork being undertaken will investigate why the Kimberley Crevice-skink has such a restricted range, and whether poor fire regimes constitute a threat to the species.

AWC protects more than half of all Australian reptiles and amphibians across our network of sanctuaries.