Snake-eyed skink surveys II

I wrote previously about a project we’d started trying to determine the distribution of snake-eyed skinks on the island of Oahu. This past week, we finished up some additional surveys on several nearshore islands with some interesting results. In collaboration with Megan Laut and Kevin Donmoyer (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Robert Fisher and Kevin Gallagher (USGS), and Tiana Bolosan (Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources) we surveyed Popoia Island and Goat Island. Snake-eyed skinks had previously been reported from both islands, but we only found them on the latter. We also attempted to survey Rabbit Island and Kāohikaipu Island, but the water was a little too rough for our inflatable boat, which nearly capsized before we had to turn back part of the way there. Fortunately the State is going back out to do breeding bird surveys on those islands next month so we can tag along and finish the skink surveys. Most significantly, we also recorded the first confirmed sighting of snake-eyed skinks on the main island of Oahu in ~100 years! Interestingly, we found a population hanging on inside the predator-free zone (which consists of a fence to keep out introduced rats and mongoose to protect native birds) at Kaena Point!

Undergraduate student Sam Fisher surveying for skinks at Makapu’u Beach, Oahu.
The DLNR crew preparing our boat.









The view from Goat Island. Not bad!
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Snake-eyed skink! (Cryptoblepharus poecilopleurus)

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