The Onoilau skink (Leiolopisma alazon) is a small lizard with a brownish olive colour that is spotted with light gold and dark brown scales on its back.

Also known as: Onoilau Skink

Local Names:

Onoilau skink (Leiolopisma alazon) map
Onoilau skink (Leiolopisma alazon) map

Description

The Onoilau skink is a small lizard with a brownish olive colour that is spotted with light-gold and dark brown scales on its back. The colour of the head is similar to that of the body, but also has distinct brown spots or bars on the lips and chin. The belly and throat are golden beige, and the tail colour ranges from rusty orange to shades of salmon pink, to beige. The adults range from 42-60 mm in snout-vent length. They are probably sexually dimorphic, with females maturing at a smaller size, but this cannot be confirmed until further research is conducted.

Distribution

The Onoilau skin is known only from where it was first discovered – on Yanuya Island in Onoilau. Habitat Ecology and Behaviour
The Onoilau skink has been observed beneath rotten logs on the forest floor, and was abundant during the first and only survey by George Zug in 1985. They are presumed to be diurnal, but this is unconfirmed. The reproduction of this species is unknown as it has never been studied.

Threats

Because of the lack of data available on this species, we cannot be certain of the threats to this endemic skink. However, we can assume, that like the other populations of our native skinks, they are greatly threatened by introduced mammals such as rats, feral cats, feral pigs and the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes javanicus).

Conservation Status

The status of the Onoilau skink is unknown, however, searches by George Zug at the time did not reveal it on any other island in the Onoilau cluster and as such it must be assumed until shown otherwise that its world distribution is confined to the 47 ha island of Yanuya. This is a very small island and makes this lizard very vulnerable to chance events and devastating cyclones or the introduction of alien predators.

Remarks and Cultural Significance

The status of the Onoilau skink is unknown, however, searches by George Zug at the time did not reveal it on any other island in the Onoilau cluster and as such it must be assumed until shown otherwise that its world distribution is confined to the 47 ha island of Yanuya. This is a very small island and makes this lizard very vulnerable to chance events – devastating cyclones or the introduction of alien predators.

References

Morrison (2003);
Ryan (2000);
Zug (1985; 1991)

Front Page Photo: George Zug