#ThreatenedSpecies of the Week: Jurien Bay Skink (Liopholis pulchra longicauda)

The Jurien Bay Skink (Liopholis pulchra longicauda) is listed as Vulnerable under both the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and the WA Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
The Jurien Bay Skink. Photo: Spineless Wonders
The Jurien Bay Skink. Photo: Spineless Wonders

The Jurien Bay Skink grows to 30cm in length and is a slender, flat-headed, medium-sized skink with a long tail. Their upper surface is brown, with a black stripe enclosing a series of pale spots and bordered below by pale grey stripe. The Jurien Bay Skink has a bright orange underside (except the throat), and a gradual colouration of orange on the upper and lower lips, ears, scales on the side of the head, side of neck and many pale spots on the back. The sides of the Jurien Bay Skink are grey and densely flecked with black or, rarely, white. Both male and female skinks are similar, and the orange coloration is not a breeding characteristic.

The Jurien Bay Skink is endemic to Western Australia, and occurs on a group of four small, low-lying islands (Escape, Favourite, Whitlock and Boullanger Islands) in Jurien Bay. As each of the four islands are separated by ocean, the subspecies is considered fragmented into four geographically isolated populations.

The Jurien Bay Skink inhabits rock isolates and low shrubland. It is found in pre-existing cavities such as crevices amongst limestone rocks and sometimes in seabird burrows. On Escape Island, it has been observed in dense ground litter beneath low scrub vegetation, as well as under other covering, such as sheets of cardboard.

The main threats to the Jurien Bay Skink are habitat disturbance, accidental fire, and competition and predation from introduced animals – all associated with frequent human visitation to the islands. These threats are likely to be ongoing, as visitor pressure is predicted to increase as a result of Jurien Bay’s growth as a regional centre. Given that it only occupies small, low-lying islands, the Jurien Bay Skink could also be threatened by rising sea levels as a result of climate change.


Information Source: Government of Australia, Department of Environment and Energy and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

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