Download: Fast, Fun, Awesome
study in australia
student information in australia
Australian University graduate information
professional networking for australian university students
employment links for australian university students
University quizzes for australian students

Hello, goodbye to new lizard

A team of scientists from The Australian National University has discovered a new species of lizard hidden among the sand dunes of Western Australia’s coastline. However, mankind’s encounter with this new species may be short-lived. Urban sprawl and habitat destruction are already pushing the tiny creature towards extinction.

The 6cm long Ctenotus ora, or the Coastal Plains Skink, only lives in the dunes along the Swan Coastal Plain between Dunsborough and Mandurah, south of Perth.

The discovery, detailed in the journalZootaxa, took place during research to determine the levels of biological diversity in South-western Australia by ecologists Mr Geoffrey Kay from the Fenner School of Environment & Society, and Professor Scott Keogh from the ANU Research School of Biology.

“The discovery of a new species is a momentous occasion in science,” said Mr Kay.

“To find something as yet undetected, so close to one of the country’s largest cities, demonstrates how much we’ve still got to discover.

“Although it’s a fantastic discovery, it’s poor cause for celebration. Our new lizard is under serious risk of being erased just as suddenly as it appeared to us.

“Only a few of these lizards have ever been found in the wild, so while we know numbers are low, we are not sure of the exact size of the remaining population.”

The small stretch of sand the skink calls home is steadily being converted into residential developments to accommodate growth in Perth and the surrounding regions.

“Developments along the coastline near Perth need to consider this new lizard and potentially a large number of other species yet to be discovered in this diverse part of the world,” said Mr Kay.

South-western Australia is recognised as one of the top 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world, alongside places such as Madagascar, the tropical jungles of West Africa, and Brazil’s Cerrado.

“We’ve known for a long time that the southwest has an outstanding diversity of plants, as exhibited by its stunning wildflowers. But only now with this research are we seeing that the level of diversity in animals, in particular reptiles, is far deeper and more extreme than we previously imagined,” said Mr Kay.

“In some cases, by using new genetic techniques and technology, we’re finding what we thought was only one species is in fact 9 or 10 very different ones.”

Leave a reply

Feature Research
Controlling fear by modifying DNA

For many people, fear of flying or of spiders skittering across the lounge room floor is more than just a [more]

Kidney disease gene controls cancer highway

University of Queensland researchers have discovered that a gene that causes kidney disease also controls growth of the lymphatic system, [more]

Queensland fraud is a billion dollar business

Queensland businesses could be losing over $12 billion per annum as a result of company fraud according to a recent study [more]

Inside the mind of a burglar

Burglars are opportunistic, generally choose their targets at random and know all the tricks householders try to use as deterrents, [more]

Flight experiment goes boldly forth to advance new technology

A hypersonic flight experiment at eight times the speed of sound, led by a University of Queensland PhD student, has [more]

Pre-drinking alcohol before hitting the nightclubs likely to lead to violence

The increasingly common practice of drinking at home before hitting the nightclubs is the major predictor of people experiencing harm [more]

Research reveals women are more interested in a man’s earning capacity than the size of his wallet

Despite ABBA’s insistence that women long for “money, money, money”, research has found that The Beatles were on the [more]

Challenges still face women seeking seniority in business

Research conducted by the UTS Centre for Corporate Governance underpinning the 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership reveals a decade [more]

Swiss Army Knife teeth secret to seal’s success

Biologists have shown how an advanced set of teeth give Antarctic leopard seals the biological tools to feast on prey [more]

Beautiful physics: Tying knots in light

New research published today seeks to push the discovery that light can be tied in knots to the next level. [more]