A group of herpetologists gathered at Anaikatti hills in Coimbatore for the South Asian Reptile Red List Assessment organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has found an Asian gracile skink.
About Asian gracile skink
- Named Subdoluseps nilgiriensis, after the Nilgiris, the reptile has a slender body of just about 7 cm and is sandy brown in colour.
- Based on genetic studies, the team writes the new species is closely related to Subdoluseps pruthi that is found in parts of the Eastern Ghats.
- The new species was found in a dry deciduous area, showing that even the dry zones of our country are home to unrealised skink diversity which needs to be further explored.
- There is an urgent need to change the notion that high biodiversity can be found only in the wet and evergreen forests.
- Most skinks are diurnal and are usually secretive in their habits. Because of their elusiveness, not much is known about their natural and evolutionary history.
- Most of the species are placed under the data-deficient category.
- This species is only the third skink species discovered from mainland India in the last millennium.
- Though skinks are non-venomous, they resemble snakes because of the often-inconspicuous limbs and the way they move on land.
- Subdoluseps nilgiriensis is currently considered a vulnerable species as there are potential threats from seasonal forest fires, housing constructions and brick kiln industries in the area.
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