Round Island skink


Round Island skink

Taxobox
name = Round Island skink


status = VU
status_system = iucn2.3
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Reptilia (paraphyletic)
unranked_ordo = Sauria
ordo = Squamata (paraphyletic)
infraordo = Scincomorpha
familia = Scincidae
subfamilia = Lygosominae
genus = "Leiolopisma"
species = "L. telfairii"
binomial = "Leiolopisma telfairii"
binomial_authority = Desjardins, 1831

The Round Island skink or Telfair's skink ("Leiolopisma telfairii"), is a species of skink endemic to Round Island (Mauritius). Other members of the genus Leiolopisma occur on New Caledonia and New Zealand but the Round Island skink is closely related to the two extinct Mascarenes taxa, "L. mauritiana" from Mauritius and "L. ceciliae" from Réunion. It is named after Charles Edward Telfair, the founder of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of Mauritius.

Description

It reaches a length between 30 and 40 cm. The body is general brownish grey mottled with dark brown spots. The small scales exhibit a rainbow-coloured shimmer when the sunlight is reflected on them. The body is approximately cylinder-shaped. It can cast its relatively long tail during a fight or to escape capture; the tail is regenerated after a while. Their short but vigorous legs are used to dig burrows.

Ecology

Its omnivorous diet consists of seeds, fruits, insects and small lizards. 'Cannibalism' is not unknown and the skinks may even kill their own young to eat them.

tatus and conservation

This species was once numerous on Mauritius and offshore islands like Flat Island. Due to habitat destruction and introduced species like goats, black rats and rabbits it was only confined to Round Island since the mid of the 19th century. When Gerald Durrell visited Round Island in the 1970s, 5000 specimens were recorded as surviving. He brought some specimens to the Jersey Zoo to build up a captive breeding program. Thanks to the eradication of the goats and rabbits on Round Island the increasing of the Round Island skink population was so successful that it was possible to relocate them to other islands like Gunner's Quoin and the Ile aux Aigrettes.

References

* (2006): Using ancient and recent DNA to explore relationships of extinct and endangered "Leiolopisma" skinks (Reptilia: Scincidae) in the Mascarene islands. "Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution" 39(2): 503–511. doi|10.1016/j.ympev.2005.12.011 (HTML abstract)
*|year=1996|id=11409|title=Leiolopisma telfairii|downloaded=17 Jul 2007 Database entry includes justification for why this species is vulnerable.

External links

*ARKive - [http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/reptiles/Leiolopisma_telfairii/ images and movies of the Round Island skink "(Leiolopisma telfairii)"]


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