Whitaker's skink

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Whitaker's skink
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Oligosoma
Species: O. whitakeri
Binomial name
Oligosoma whitakeri
Hardy, 1977

Cyclodina whitakeri

The Whitaker's skink, Oligosoma whitakeri (formerly Cyclodina whitakeri),[1] is a threatened[2] species of skink in the Scincidae family. It is found only in New Zealand. The specific epithet is in honour of Anthony Whitaker, a New Zealand herpetologist who studied New Zealand lizards for more than 30 years.[3]

Whitaker's skink lives in coastal forest and scrub. During the day the skinks retreat to warm, moist places such as seabird burrows and deep boulder banks, and emerge on warm humid nights to forage. The species is found on two small, predator-free islands off the Coromandel Peninsula – Middle Island in the Mercury Islands group, and Castle Island. There is also a mainland population in a small rocky area at the base of coastal hills at Pukerua Bay, near Wellington. Fossil bones found in the Waikato Region suggest that these skinks were once more widely distributed.[4] The New Zealand Department of Conservation and the Friends of Mana Island are running a five-year project to catch and breed enough animals from the vulnerable Pukerua Bay colony to establish a sustainable population on nearby predator-free Mana Island.


  1. ^ Chapple, David G.; Ritchie, Peter A.; Daugherty, Charles H. (2009). "Origin, diversification, and systematics of the New Zealand skink fauna (Reptilia: Scincidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52 (2): 470. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.03.021. PMID 19345273. 
  2. ^ Australasian Reptile & Amphibian Specialist Group (1996). "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Oligosoma whitakeri (Whitaker's Skink)". IUCN. Retrieved 2014-12-27. 
  3. ^ Gill, Brian; Whitaker, Anthony (1996). New Zealand Frogs & Reptiles. Auckland, N.Z: D. Bateman. ISBN 978-1-86953-264-2. 
  4. ^ Kerry-Jayne Wilson. "Lizards - Conservation". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2014-12-27.