Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A new species of Skink from Cape Melville in northeast Australia.


Skinks of the genus Carlia are found in northeast Australia, New Guinea and the Wallacea biogeographical province between Australia and Southeast Asia. There are currently 42 described species, 23 of which are found in Australia, all but one of these being restricted to the continent (one species is found in Australia and New Guinea). Of these Australian species, the majority occupy open forests in northeastern and coastal Queensland, with only two known species, Carlia rubrigularis and Carliar homboidalis, that can accurately be described as two rainforest species, both being found in the ‘Wet Tropics’ between Townsville and Cooktown.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 1 October 2014, Conrad Hoskin of the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change at James Cook University describes a new species of Carlia from the upland rainforests of Cape Melville.

The new species is named Carlia wundalthini, in honour of Charlie Monaghan, a Traditional Owner from the Cape Melville area who passed on knowledge and responsibility to the current generation of Traditional Owners; it was chosen by the bubu gudjin of Cape Melville, the Traditional Owners with responsibility for the area where the species was discovered.

Carlia wundalthini male specimen in life. Hoskin (2014).

Carlia wundalthini is a brown Skink with scattered black and white flecks, a rainbow tinge when seen from certain angles and a coppery head. Males have an orange flush on their necks and flanks in the breeding season (around December). Females have brown flanks, darker on the upper surface, a paler line along the top of the back and pale spots on the flanks.

Carliawundalthini (A) male and (B) female.Hoskin (2014).

The species was found living in upland rainforest on Cape Melville. The Skinks were active during the daytime, foraging in leaf-litter or basking in the sun. When disturbed they hid beneath the leaf litter or in rock crevices.

Habitat of Carlia wundalthini, in the Melville Range: (A) shows the edge of the rainforest plateau and the extensive boulder-fields that characterise Cape Melville, (B) shows the rainforest at the locality where the first specimens were found. Hoskin (2014).

See also…

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/a-new-species-of-skink-from-southern.htmlA new species of Skink from southern New Caledonia.                                                 Skinks are smallish lizards with elongate bodies and reduced legs and necks. They are an ancient and successful group, found throughout the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world, though...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/new-species-of-skink-from-northwest-new.html New species of Skink from northwest New Caledonia.                                                 Skinks are smallish lizards with elongate bodies and reduced legs and necks. They are an ancient and successful group, found throughout the...

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