Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report – June 2013

Bream Head skinkAnother busy month for us, but top of the list must be the new skink we have found. Some of you may have seen the articles in the local papers and also in the New Zealand Herald. This is a brand new skink for Northland and may well be a new skink species for New Zealand – unbelievable but true!

During the lizard survey this year we captured two unusual skinks, ID photos and measurements were taken and they were then released. Thanks to our very good relationship with Ngatiwai and DOC, we were able to capture another specimen for DNA testing. Two mitochondrial DNA sequences have now been analysed and confirm that the skink is closely related to the brown skink, Oligosoma zelandicum. The maximum genetic divergence in the O. zelandicum population is 1.2%. Our Bream Head skink has a divergence of 3.3 – 3.7% from O. zelandicum indicating that it may well be a unique species with a relatively recent speciation event from its more southern relatives.

Read the June 2013 Rangers Report in full (403kB pdf).