BioGecko Issue 3 (2015)

Welcome to our third issue of BioGecko (2015).


BELL, TRENT. Editorial.



Further observations on a population of the Canterbury spotted skink Oligosoma ‘Central Canterbury’ in lowland South Canterbury, New Zealand.

Abstract: Population counts of the Canterbury spotted skink Oligosoma ‘Central Canterbury’ in an isolated habitat in South Canterbury over two years gave much higher numbers compared with numbers noted on the initial visit. Numbers observed varied considerably between each of 14 visits depending on weather conditions. Three other lizard species were confirmed living in the same habitat, though the spotted skink clearly is the dominant species. A relatively high abundance of house mouse Mus musculus was documented.

Frank 2015 - Central Canterbury spotted skinks.



Striped skinks incidentally recorded under closed-cell foam covers at Windy Hill, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand.

Abstract: Six sightings of striped skinks (Oligosoma striatum) were made under closed-cell foam covers in 2009 and 2013 during a lizard monitoring study at Windy Hill Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island. These records represent the first striped skinks to be encountered on Great Barrier since 1983, a 26-year period. Occurrence rates of striped skinks was too low for covers to be used as a primary survey or population monitoring tool for this particular population. However, the covers were useful for detecting the presence of these skinks while monitoring other arboreal lizard species. Therefore this method likely has some merit for study of striped skinks in forested environments. If an abundant population of striped skinks can be identified, we recommend that the efficacy of closed-cell foam covers be tested alongside other potential methods for surveying and monitoring this species.

Herbert et al 2015 - striped skinks Oligosoma striatum under closed-cell foam covers.



Describing lizard and frog distribution and species assemblages using the Ecological Districts framework.

Abstract: New Zealand is one of the more geographically diverse countries in the world. Not surprisingly, this is also reflected by the highly distinctive species, community assemblages and ecologies that have formed within different parts of the country. In this paper, we use the Ecological Districts framework to describe, at a high level, the distribution and species assemblages of lizards and frogs in New Zealand.

Bell & Wiles 2015 - lizard & frog distribution & assemblages by Ecological Districts



Insight into the cryptic skink (Oligosoma aff. nconspicuum) species-complex in North Otago.

[No abstract]



--JANSSEN, JORDI. A first-recorded case of hypomelanism in a wild Suter’s skink (Oligosoma suteri) following eradication of invasive alien species.

--JEWELL, TONY. New skink species found in Fiordland.


In Review

Recent scientific papers, technical reports, theses, books, newspapers, videos and blogs published on the New Zealand herpetofauna.


Book Review

--NELSON-TUNLEY, MONIQUA.Tuatara: Biology and conservation of a venerable survivor. Alison Cree, Canterbury University Press, August 2014.


Photo Galleries

--VERHAEGH, SJUUL.White-faced herons predating on southern grass skinks