The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the copper striped blue-tailed skink is now extinct in the Hawaiian Islands.
Its habibtat used to be throughout Hawaii, but human development and the introduction of other preditor animal species has killed them off completely.
Small lizards such as the blue-tailed skink are prone to cryptic extinction – meaning they are confused with other species, so little is known about them and very few people even notice they are gone.
“The extinction of native Hawaiian bird species is well documented, partly because their presence and sounds had been so distinctive to humans. But without regular field surveys, we tend to overlook the disappearances of smaller, secretive species, along with the causes of their extinction,” said a French national researcher. (Source: USGS)
It is critical to discover and document the precise causes of the skink’s extinction so that more extinctions of other small animals in the Hawaiian are reduced. Research has indicated a continuous downward trend in species survival: “This decline appears contemporaneous with the documented declines of invertebrates and birds across the Hawaiian Islands.” Because so many elements of nature are connected to each other, this lizard’s story isn’t just about one species. Loss of habitat and invasive species destruction are taking place all over the world.
The only good news in this story is that the same skink species is still alive on some other Pacific Islands, so we need to make sure those habitats continue to support their existence.
Image Credit: USGS