Undocumented Skink Species

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Ophidiophile
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Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Ophidiophile » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:20 am

As some of you know, I have worked on and off in Papua New Guinea for 25 years. I work in a fairly remote part of the country -- about 20 miles inland from the north coast and 30 or so miles from the border with Irian Jaya/West Papua. Basically nobody ever goes to this area (it's called Anguganak) and there is a tremendous amount of undocumented wildlife here. The last time there was a formal biological survey in the area, which was just before I started working there, there were many new insects and amphibians and even an unknown large mammal discovered (the tenkile). Anyway, there are a lot of (mostly small) skinks there and for years the people told me about a really large skink locally called "Maneigat Warp" (Maneigat (Mah-nay-gat) just means skink and warp is the specific name of this type). It took a long time to see one but I finally did about 10 years ago. The one in the photo has been killed (sorry if this is disturbing) and is about to go into the cooking pot. I showed it to a US skink expert, Dr. Chris Austin, some time ago and he said it appears to be genus, Sphenomorphus but an unknown species. The comb in the photo (which is all I had at the time to put down to give a size reference is about 6" (15.2 cm). The color of the animal may not show up so well, but it is a crazy mix of deep pink and purple!

So without further ado, maneigat warp!

MysterySkink.jpg


Just thought some of you skinkers might find this interesting...
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2.4 Northern BTS
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2.0.6 Tanimbar BTS
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Jeff » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:29 am

That's great to see! I would love to have the opportunity to spend time in a place like that where you have the chance to see animals that no one other than locals has ever seen. Do you see BTS in that area?
6.10.9 T. s. intermedia
2.2.7 T. s. scincoides
1.2.1 T. nigrolutea
2.2.0 T. r. rugosa
1.2.3 T.g. keyensis
2.0.5 T.s. chimaera
0.0.0. T. occipitalis
0.0.0. T. multifasciata
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Richard.C » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:17 am

looks like a debris dweller,pointy nose reminds me of a sand skink,
there would be alot of undescribed species over there

nice find
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Ophidiophile » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:41 am

Jeff wrote:Do you see BTS in that area?


BTS do occur but are uncommon and I haven't personally seen them. People are scared of them and believe them to be venomous as well as bad luck. Consequently they are killed on sight and generally not brought back to the village. I think next time I'm there (shooting for June 2014) I will try to find and photograph some.

The most interesting skinks that I see most commonly are Tribolonotus gracilis and Prasinohaema virens - green blooded skinks!
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2.4 Northern BTS
2.2 Eastern BTS
2.0.6 Tanimbar BTS
0.1 Irian Jaya BTS
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Dakota » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:45 am

People from that area tell me that they live deep deep in the forest.. and mountain men have to go and collect them. :lol:
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Ophidiophile » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:11 pm

Richard.C wrote:looks like a debris dweller,pointy nose reminds me of a sand skink,


I looked up sand skinks since I wasn't that familiar with them and, you're right, it certainly does look similar.
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2.4 Northern BTS
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2.0.6 Tanimbar BTS
0.1 Irian Jaya BTS
1.1 Blotched BTS
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby donkeybuff » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:52 pm

Wow, looks like someone painted it with chrome!
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby El Lobo » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:27 pm

Dakota Nivens wrote:People from that area tell me that they live deep deep in the forest.. and mountain men have to go and collect them. :lol:


You know people from Papua? :shock:
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Dakota » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:36 pm

I have connections.. 8)
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby El Lobo » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:34 pm

Dakota Nivens wrote:I have connections.. 8)


Yangpela man bilong toktok, litimapim em yet. :nanny:
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Dakota » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:46 pm

Apa? kwkwkw

Aku tidak tahu apa yang baru saja Anda katakan, tapi aku hanya akan mengatakan "hi"! kwkwkwkwkw :blueyboy:
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Richard.C » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:47 am

imagesCA3SUGG4.jpg
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Ophidiophile » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:32 am

El Lobo wrote:Yangpela man bilong toktok, litimapim em yet. :nanny:


Em i mauswara nating. Yu yet, yu gat save! :thumbs:
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2.0.6 Tanimbar BTS
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby bluetonguerocks » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:51 pm

El Lobo wrote:
Dakota Nivens wrote:I have connections.. 8)


Yangpela man bilong toktok, litimapim em yet. :nanny:


kamu bilang apa? aku tidak tahu :wink:
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby kl » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:18 pm

I have studied a lot about various species of Sphenomorphus and this definitely is a type of that species. They all typically have this very high gloss finish that almost resembles a salamanders skin. Here's my favorite Sphenomorphus species.

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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Richard.C » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:46 pm

pretty skinks
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Dakota » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:40 am

I've seen that skink on an Indonesian Panana page, and they had no clue what it was.. :lol:

Kim, what is the species? And is this genus found common here in the states?

Thanks
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby kl » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:51 am

Sphenomorphus Mulleri.

I have not seen any in the states for about 5 yrs now. They actually can be more colorful than that picture. For some reason nobody is importing them from Indonesia even though they are supposedly fairly common.

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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Bird_Brain » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:18 pm

Wow, very cool. It's so shiny!
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Re: Undocumented Skink Species

Postby Lea » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:37 am

Goodness, what a beautiful animal! You are so lucky to have worked and lived in Papau, it would be so different and exciting. I read a book on Papau, a long time ago now, by Tim Flannery and I became fascinated by the culture and uniqueness, it would be amazing to go there. Seeing undiscovered species would be the epitome of excitement.

Thank you for sharing this! Can we hear some more tales from your time away? Do you have a favourite time or moment? Gosh, I know you can't really understand a place by just a quick visit, but darn, this makes me want to book a trip!
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