Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Another vertebrate species reported extinct from the Hawaiian Islands

Date:
March 31, 2012
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Summary:
A species of lizard is now extinct from the Hawaiian Islands, making it the latest native vertebrate species to become extirpated from this tropical archipelago. The copper striped blue-tailed skink (Emoia impar) -- a sleek lizard with smooth, polished scales and a long, sky-blue tail -- was last confirmed in the Na'Pali coast of Kauai in the 1960s. But repeated field surveys on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawai'i islands from 1988 to 2008 have yielded no sightings or specimens.

A copper-striped blue-tailed skink (Emoia impar) photographed in Samoa during a USGS field survey.
Credit: Photo by Chris Brown, USGS

A species of lizard is now extinct from the Hawaiian Islands, making it the latest native vertebrate species to become extirpated from this tropical archipelago.

The copper striped blue-tailed skink (Emoia impar) -- a sleek lizard with smooth, polished scales and a long, sky-blue tail -- was last confirmed in the Na'Pali coast of Kauai in the 1960s. But repeated field surveys on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawai'i islands from 1988 to 2008 have yielded no sightings or specimens.

"No other landscape in these United States has been more impacted by extinction events and species invasions in historic times than the Hawaiian Islands, with as yet unknown long-term cascading consequences to the ecosystem," said U.S. Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt. "Today, we close the book on one more animal that is unlikely to ever be re-established in this fragile island home."

"This skink was once common throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and in fact the species can still be found on many other island groups in the tropical Pacific," says Robert Fisher, a biologist with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center. "That's what makes this extinction so intriguing: if an otherwise common animal can be completely extirpated from one island ecosystem but not others, then what does that tell us?"

Fisher and colleague Ivan Ineich of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris announced their findings on E. impar this month in the international conservation journal "Oryx," published by Fauna and Flora International.

Small animals like this skink are prone to what Fisher and Ineich call "cryptic extinction" -- when a species is easily confused with similar species that their extinction can go unnoticed for decades.

"The extinction of native Hawaiian bird species is well documented, partly because their presence and sounds had been so distinctive to humans," says Ineich, who is also a researcher with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). "But without regular field surveys, we tend to overlook the disappearances of smaller, secretive species, along with the causes of their extinction."

While the exact causes of the skink's Hawaiian extinction is unclear, Fisher and Ineich note that island extinctions around the world often share similar factors, such as the loss of habitat due to uncontrolled human development. Another is competition or predation from invasive species accidentally or intentionally introduced through human migration and activity.

"There's some evidence that an invasive ant was preying on these skinks," Fisher says. "That's a new factor we'll need to examine as we look out for other at-risk species in the Pacific islands."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey. "Another vertebrate species reported extinct from the Hawaiian Islands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120331095903.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey. (2012, March 31). Another vertebrate species reported extinct from the Hawaiian Islands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120331095903.htm
U.S. Geological Survey. "Another vertebrate species reported extinct from the Hawaiian Islands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120331095903.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins