Skinks discovered living high up in old mountain ash trees
Environmental scientist Grant Harris has written up a paper on our sightings of Spencer’s Skink in very large, old Eucalyptus regnans trees in the Central Highlands.
During March 2012, whilst undertaking an aerial survey of an overmature Mountain Ash Eucalyptus regnans in Toolangi State Forest, a Spencer’s Skink Pseudemoia spenceri was observed in the canopy at a height of ~50m above ground level.
In the following year,whilst surveying another overmature E.regnans, a pair of P. spenceri
was detected at similar height within the canopy.
These sightings demonstrate that thermoregulation in P. spenceri is not restricted to dead trees and that high canopies of overmature trees may be an important component of its habitat. Due to the difficulty of accessing the forest canopy it is likely that our understanding of arboreal habitat use has been underestimated for small vertebrates such as skinks. Our serendipitous sightings emphasise the need for further research in this area.
Read the entire paper here