If absence makes the heart grow fonder, we may soon be hardcore missing the coastal plains skink. The lizard, code named Ctenotus ora, is less than three inches long and lives in sand dunes along the Swan Coastal Plain, a stretch of coastline south of Perth, Australia. The entire southwestern side of Australia has, in the last year or so, been the source of over a thousand discoveries of previously unknown species. But while scientists may still be patting themselves on the back for this, urban sprawl has already begun to potentially limit our time with these creatures.
Geoffrey Kay, of the Australian National University, and his team reported their findings in the zoological journal Zootaxa, and were quick to halt the party before it got started. “Although it’s a fantastic discovery, it’s poor cause for celebration,” Kay said. Population increases have led to Perth and its surrounding areas seeing a large number of residential developments pop up in places where only the native creatures have lived before, so there’s no way of telling how damaging the regional growth can be. Kay goes on to say a limited number of the lizards have ever been found in the wild, so exact estimates on the full coastal skink population are unknown.
Am I the only one whose mind immediately goes to greaser bullies hanging out under bridges when the term “skink” is used? I figure even if people around Perth want to begin residential constructions, there will be a well-crafted team of skinks put together to stop these land developers from taking their land. And this story will bear Pixar’s name. Here’s hoping scientists can figure out exactly what kind of good these skinks do for humanity before we completely wipe them out and then spend the next year bitching about it until the advent of Coastal Skink Day.