gondwana reptile productions by rob valentic about us

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A range extension for the Skink Lampropholis mirabilis.


By Rob Valentic.


INTRODUCTION


Lampropholis mirabilis was recently described in 1981 by Ingram and Rawlinson.  Saxicoline in habit, the species has been recorded from Magnetic Island (Queensland) and the adjacent mainland from Cape Cleveland to Mt Elliot (Ehmann, 1992; Patrick Couper pers. comm.).  The purpose of this paper is to report the discovery of L. mirabilis approximately 110km northwest of the nearest documented mainland localities at Jourama Falls National Park (1851’S, 14607’E).

Skink Lampropholis mirabilis from Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia.
An adult Lampropholis mirabilis from Endeavour Creek, Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island, north-eastern Queensland, Australia.


OBSERVATION

Date:  28th March 1994.

Time: 
16:45 - 17:20hrs (Eastern Standard Time).

Weather Conditions: 
27C, fine and sunny conditions.

Habitat: 
Slope vegetated with open dry sclerophyll woodland with a speargrass understory. Scattered low termitaria and localised granite outcroppings throughout.  The site immediately adjacent to a riparian gully comprised of deciduous monsoonal forest with vine thickets.

Notes: 
A total of four adult L. mirabilis were observed in close proximity to one another and were active atop granite boulders beside the main walking track. All attempted to retreat into narrow fissures within the rocks upon disturbance.  Two specimens were caught by hand and measured 49mm and 41mm SVL respectively.  The skinks were identical in colour and pattern to specimens previously photographed on Magnetic Island (pers. obs.).  After close scrutiny both lizards were subsequently released.



DISCUSSION

This taxon is regarded as distinctive in pattern and shape (Low, 1978; Wilson and Knowles, 1992).  Interestingly, previous faunal surveys conducted within Jourama Falls National Park have not yielded L. mirabilis (Joan Whittier pers. comm.).

The habitat described above parallels the habitat requirements of L. mirabilis reported in the literature; “Rock dwelling species found among granitic rocks at the edges of, or clearings in, rain  and monsoon forest, vine thickets and denser woodland habitats” (Cogger, 1992).  Nearby areas of suitable habitat also exist within the larger Crystal Creek National Park (pers. obs.).

The discovery of L. mirabilis at Jourama Falls National Park has extended the known range of the species to a broader portion of north-eastern Queensland.  Further field work is warranted in the intervening areas between Jourama Falls and the Townsville district to determine if the species has a more or less continuous distribution or whether these populations are disjunct.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Sincere thanks to Patrick Couper of the Queensland Museum and Joan Whittier of the Anatomy Department at Brisbane University for various assistances.

REFERENCES

Cogger, H.G. 1992.  Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia.  Fifth Edition.  Reed Books, Chatswood, N.S.W. 775pp.

Ehmann, H.  1992. 
Encyclopedia of Australian Animals - Reptiles.  Angus and Robertson, Pymble, N.S.W. 495pp.

Low, T.  1978. 
The Reptiles of Magnetic Island, North Queensland.  Herpetofauna 9(2): 10-14.

Wilson, S.K. and Knowles, D.G. 1992. 
Australian Reptiles - A Photographic Reference to the Reptiles of Australia.  2nd Edition.  Cornstalk publishing, Pymble, N.S.W. 447pp.