Oligosoma hardyi

Hardy's skink

Oligosoma hardyi
(Chapple et al., 2008)

Image coming soon
Image attribution
Image coming soon
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

Description

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.

Identification

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.

Distribution

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

Diet

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

Unknown.

Social Structure

Solitary.

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.

References

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