Notification: Parks and Wildlife Service is part of the new Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

Rare skink populations discovered in Midwest

A western spiny-tailed skink
A western spiny-tailed skink Parks and Wildlife

Two new populations of an endangered reptile have been discovered in the State’s Midwest, renewing hope for the long-term survival of the species.

Five western spiny-tailed skinks (Egernia stokesii badia) were found sheltering in hollow logs at two different sites during a survey at Karara Rangeland Park, 50km east of Morawa.

A distinct feature of spiny-tailed skinks is their long rough scales which are very prickly to touch. They can live for more than 10 years and can grow up to nearly 30cm.

Department of Parks and Wildlife nature conservation regional leader Anthony Desmond said the survey was undertaken to assist with planning future recreational activities in the area.

“Although they are known from this general area no survey has ever been done at this site,” he said.

“The reason for doing the survey was because the vegetation type was similar to sites where the reptile has been previously found, with the nearest known population 10km away.

“This species also rarely travels far from amongst the hollow logs it inhabits and gives birth to live young who often remain in the same logs in communal family groups.

“It means we can now do more targeted surveys on land that is managed for conservation to learn more about their preferred habitat and distribution in the Karara Rangeland Park to guide future management actions and enhance their protection and possibly contribute to their recovery.

“The discovery also draws into focus the biodiversity of the local bushland and so makes people more aware and appreciative of the natural values of their surroundings.”

Mr Desmond said the spiny-tailed skinks were only found on the mainland between the northern and central Wheatbelt and the upper Midwest region.

“The more we can understand about their habitat and distribution the more knowledge we will be armed with to help implement and refine recovery plans in years to come,” he said.

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 June 2017 15:02