Contact: Barbara Kennedy
Caption: Twenty-four new species of lizards known as skinks have been discovered on Caribbean islands by a team led by Blair Hedges, of Penn State University, who has described the species scientifically. Half of these new species already may be extinct or close to extinction. The loss of many skink species can be attributed primarily to predation by the mongoose -- a predatory mammal that was introduced by farmers. Other types of human activity, especially the removal of forests, also are to blame, according to the researchers. This picture is of one of the new species, an Caicos Islands skink.
Credit: Joseph Burgess, courtesy of Penn State University
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Related news release: 24 new species of lizards discovered on Caribbean islands are close to extinction