In news- A new species of skink Subdoluseps nilgiriensis has been found from Nilgiri hills, Tamil Nadu (Western Ghats).
About Subdoluseps nilgiriensis:
- The reptile has a slender body of just about 7 cm and is sandy brown in colour.
- Based on genetic studies, the new species is closely related to Subdoluseps pruthi that is found in parts of the Eastern Ghats.
- This species is only the third skink species discovered from mainland India in the last millennium.
- Its discovery in a dry deciduous area, shows that even the dry zones of India are home to unrealised skink diversity which needs to be further explored.
- Hence the notion that S. pruthi group skinks are restricted to the Eastern Ghats is falsified.
- Skinks are non-venomous.
- Their inconspicuous limbs make them resemble snakes.
- Most skinks are diurnal and are usually secretive in their habits.
- Most of the species are placed under the data-deficient category.
- Subdoluseps nilgiriensis is currently considered a vulnerable species.
- Potential threats include seasonal forest fires, housing constructions, brick kiln industries in the area and rapid urbanisation.