Egernia stokesii badia (Western Spiny-tailed Skink) is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and as Vulnerable under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. The main threats to Western Spiny-tailed Skinks include land clearing, grazing which reduces habitat, feral animals and fire.
The Western Spiny-tailed Skink is one of four Spiny-tailed Skink (Egernia stokesii) subspecies found in Australia and grows up grows to 194 mm.
It has scaled skin and a flattish, spiny tail. There are two forms of Western Spiny-tailed Skink found within the Northern Agricultural Region: a reddish brown form, with angular pale blotches arranged in irregular bands with a paler underside and a black form.
The species is omnivorous, with juveniles feeding mainly on insects, and adults largely consuming plant material.
Western Spiny-tailed Skinks occur on the Houtman Abrolhos islands and typically find shelter within cracks or under limestone rocks.
The skink is also known to inhabit open eucalypt woodlands and Acacia-dominated shrublands in semi-arid to arid areas of the Geraldton Sandplains, and shelter in fallen logs, holes of tree trunks, and under rubble such as corrugated iron.
A survey conducted in 2008, recorded one population in a reserve of the northern wheatbelt area and sightings were later recorded on private land, often under rubble and buildings, following a community awareness raising campaign.
Other surveys conducted between 2006 and 2009 just north of Geraldton, recorded increased populations.
Individuals or scats have been sighted at more than 100 sites across the Murchison area.
Living in groups of less than 20 individuals, juveniles remain for up to five years in their endemic community. Studies have found genetic indications that there is evidence of family structures within the community groups, with breeding partners and offspring. Such findings are the first genetic evidence of a family structure in lizards.
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Information Source Government of Australia, Department of Environment and Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia.