Bermuda skink (Plestiodon longirostris)

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Bermuda skink
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Bermuda skink fact file

Bermuda skink description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyScincidae
GenusEumeces (1)

The Bermuda skink is a small robust lizard. The skin is shiny with conspicuous scales and adults are a dark brown/black colour on the back and salmon pink or light grey underneath. Juveniles and hatchlings are a lighter bronze, and have cream and black stripes along the sides. Hatchlings have sky blue tails that gradually fade and become brown/black with age (5). Females retain their stripes longer than males but both sexes eventually become completely dark. The sexes are similar in appearance but it has been observed that males have wider heads relative to their necks (2).

Also known as
Bermuda rock lizard, Bermuda rock skink, Bermudian rock lizard, Bermudian rock skink.
Synonyms
Eumeces longirostris.
Size
Snout-vent length: 75 - 85 mm (adult average) (2)
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Bermuda skink biology

Very little is known about the natural ecology of the Bermuda skink but recent research indicates it eats a range of insects and other arthropods including beetles and cockroaches (2), and occasionally the fruit of the prickly pear cactus (4). Individuals may actively forage for food by burrowing with their clawed feet under rocks or in the soil, or will sit and wait for prey to come past them and then give chase (2). Unlike the introduced and more common anole lizards (Anolis spp), the skinks do not climb plants or trees but they are excellent at climbing rocks and stone walls (2). These skinks are more active above ground in the summer months, which led people to believe that they went into winter hibernation; recent results however, show that they are in fact active throughout the year (2).

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Bermuda skink range

These lizards are the only terrestrial vertebrates endemic to Bermuda (3). Populations are found in isolated pockets all over the mainland and on offshore islands. The greatest known abundances can be found on many of the islets in Castle Harbour and at Spittal Pond, one of the island's largest nature reserves (5).

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Bermuda skink habitat

Inhabits rocky, coastal areas but may also be found in other areas such as old stone quarries and residential sites (2).

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Bermuda skink status

The Bermuda skink is classified as Critically Endangered (CR - B1+2bcde) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

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Bermuda skink threats

Populations of the Bermuda skink have been decimated by human activities on the island of Bermuda. Habitat destruction, the introduction of predators and the recent encroachment of rubbish (5), have all contributed to the skink's currently precipitous status.

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Bermuda skink conservation

The Bermuda Skink Project, an initiative of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ), has been attempting to reach a greater understanding of the ecology and behaviour of these rare lizards (3). These steps are vital if an effective conservation management strategy is to be put into action. Data on population numbers and distribution is also severely lacking and people in Bermuda are encouraged to keep a vigilant eye out for the species (3). BAMZ is also developing captive breeding techniques that may prove vital for supplying individuals for a possible reintroduction campaign (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

 

  • Jones, J. M. (1859) The naturalist in Bermuda. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 13: 12-314.
  • Wingate, D. W (1965) Terrestrial herpetofauna of Bermuda. Herpetologica, 21: 202-18.
  • Wingate, R. (1998) A comparison of demography and morphological variation in two insular populations of the Bermuda Rock Lizard (Eumeces longirostris). Unpublished BSc. dissertation. University of Swansea, Wales.
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Authentication

Authenticated (20/6/02) by Lisa Kitson (20/6/02), Bermuda Skink Project
http://www.bamz.org/conservation&research/skinkproject.htm

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2002)
    http://www.redlist.org
  2. Kitson, L. (2002) Unpublished
  3. Raine, A. (1998) A study of the morphological differentiation, fluctuating asymmetry and the threats facing isolated populations of the critically endangered Bermuda Rock Lizard (Eumeces longirostris). Unpublished MSc. Dissertation, University College, London.
  4. Bermuda Skink Project (May, 2002)
    http://www.bamz.org/conservation&research/skinkproject.htm
  5. Davenport, J., Hills, J., Glasspool, A. & Ward, J. (2001) Threats to the critically endangered endemic Bermudian skink Eumeces longirostris ORYX, 35 (4): 332-339.
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Bermuda skink  
Bermuda skink

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