8 Jun 2013

Skink found in Northland may be new species

11:29 am on 8 June 2013

Volunteer conservation workers near Whangarei may have discovered a new species of skink.

Conservation workers discovered the skink.

Conservation workers discovered the skink. Photo: SUPPLIED

The Bream Head Conservation Trust carries out predator and weed control on the Whangarei Heads peninsula.

It says with fewer rats, lizard numbers have begun to bounce back, and a monitoring programme has turned up a small brown skink never seen before in Northland.

It's been identified by DNA testing as a close relative of Oligosoma zelandicum, a brown skink generally found only in the lower North island, and the tip of the south.

The Department of Conservation is investigating further and says it hopes to fully describe the skink next summer.