Oligosoma hardyi

Hardy's skink

Oligosoma hardyi
(Chapple et al., 2008)

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Herpetofaunal category
NZ Skinks
Species complex
Conservation Status
At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
Previous scientific names
Cyclodina aenea
Common names
Hardy's skink

Length: SVL up to 62mm, with the tail being equal to or slightly longer than the body length

Weight: 5.1 grams


The smallest of the three skinks species restricted to the Poor Knights Islands. It is visually similar to the copper skink (Oligosoma aeneum) from the North Island, but due to its isolation has developed several features that allow it to be distinguished. This species is golden-brown in colouration with white speckling, a copper dorsolateral stripe bordered underneath by dark brown is present from the neck to the base of the tail. The lower surfaces are typically cream, with flashes of yellow or orange towards the vent, black flecking may be present.


Geographically isolated from the copper skink (Oligosoma aeneum). Can be distinguished from the co-occurring Aorangi skink (Oligosoma roimata) and Marbled skink (Oligosoma oliveri) by the lack of a black-edged teardrop marking under the eye.


Confined to the two largest islands in the Poor Knights group (Aorangi, and Tawhiti Rahi).


As with other native skinks, this species is likely to be omnivorous feeding on invertebrates and small fruits.

Ecology and Habitat

A poorly known species, being either crepuscular or cathemeral. It occurs in a broad range of habitats on the Poor Knights including, coastal forest, and flaxlands. May utilise seabird burrows.

Life Expectancy


Social Structure


Breeding Biology

Likely to be viviparous. Reproductive biology unknown.

Disease and threats

Due to this species solely occurring on predator-free islands it does not face the same threats as many species on the mainland.


Chapple, D. G., Daugherty, C. H., & Ritchie, P. A. (2008). Comparative phylogeography reveals pre-decline population structure of New Zealand Cyclodina (Reptilia: Scincidae) species. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society95(2), 388-408.

Chapple, D. G., Patterson, G. B., Bell, T., & Daugherty, C. H. (2008). Taxonomic revision of the New Zealand copper skink (Cyclodina aenea: Squamata: Scincidae) species complex, with descriptions of two new species. Journal of Herpetology42(3), 437-452.

Chapple, D. G., Ritchie, P. A., & Daugherty, C. H. (2009). Origin, diversification, and systematics of the New Zealand skink fauna (Reptilia: Scincidae). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution52(2), 470-487.

Hitchmough, R., Barr, B., Knox, C., Lettink, M., Monks, J. M., Patterson, G. B., Reardon, J. T., van Winkel, D., Rolfe, J., & Michel, P. (2021). Conservation status of New Zealand reptiles, 2021New Zealand threat classification series 35. Wellington: New Zealand Department of Conversation.

McCallum, J. (1981). Reptiles of Tawhiti Rahi Island, Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand. Tane, 27, 55-58.

Towns, D. R. (1999). Cyclodina spp. skink recovery plan 1999–2004: Threatened species recovery plan 27. Wellington: Department of Conservation.

van Winkel, D., Baling, M., & Hitchmough, R. (2018). Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand: A Field Guide. Auckland University Press, pp376.

Whitaker, A. H. (1968). The lizards of the Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand. New Zealand journal of science11, 623-651.