The Straits Times
Published on Oct 29, 2012

New species of lizard found in Australia


SYDNEY (AFP) -A team of scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a new species of lizard hidden among the sand dunes of Western Australia's coastline.

But they fear it is only a matter of time before the six-centimetre long Ctenotus ora, or the coastal plains skink, will be extinct with urban sprawl rapidly closing in.

The discovery, detailed in the journal Zootaxa, took place during research south of the city of Perth to determine the levels of biological diversity in southwestern Australia.

"The discovery of a new species is a momentous occasion in science," said Mr Geoffrey Kay, an ecologist from ANU who found the lizard with colleague Professor Scott Keogh. "To find something as yet undetected, so close to one of the country's largest cities, demonstrates how much we've still got to discover." But he warned of the real threat to the reptile. "Although it's a fantastic discovery, it's poor cause for celebration. Our new lizard is under serious risk of being erased just as suddenly as it appeared to us," he said.