Nangur spiny skink
Known in only two populations located are over 30km apart, the Nangur spiny skink is at risk from habitat destruction and feral animals.
Carolyn is a science journalist and former Online Editor at Australian Geographic.
AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION STATUS (EPBC Act)
The Nangur spiny skink is known only in two separate populations near Murgon in south east Queensland.
Nangur spiny skink
Typically found between 315m and 600m in altitude, the skink dwells in areas with hoop pine vegetation as well as semi-evergreen vine thicket and forest. Borrows are formed in protected, shady areas, such as roadside banks or at the base of rocks and trees. The surrounding ground is usually covered in leaf litter.
The skink is solid in build and can grow to a total of 19cm in length. On its underside, the skink is cream in colour, while its back is brown with black patterns. Scales on the body are keeled and spiny, and there are between 28 to 30 rows mid-body.
Studies have failed to identify breeding patterns of the species, although it is expected that the skink gives birth to live young. The skink may be active during the day throughout spring, summer and autumn, and its diet appears to consist of a range of beetles and spiders.
Burrows may be as long as 60m underground and can be shared by up to five individuals. A ‘resting platform’ is usually constructed at the entrance, which allows the skink to bask in warm weather.
Threats to the Nangur spiny skink
Habitat degradation in the form of hoop pine harvesting poses a major threat to the species. Additionally, many skinks have formed burrows on roadside banks and verges, which are then severely damaged by grading machinery.
Introduced species, such as pigs, cats, foxes and cane toads, are all found in the vicinity of spiny skink populations and are likely to have predated on the species. The explosive growth of the lantana weed is also thought to have impacted on the species’ habitat.
Recovery plans for the Nangur spiny skink
A recovery plan has been developed for the species, which aims to accurately estimate population numbers before monitoring and controlling the impact made by weeds and feral animals. The recovery plan also highlights the importance of establishing genetic differences between the two populations of spiny skink and minimising the risk of wildfire.