What is Skink?

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Overview:

Recently, a team from the Thackeray Wildlife Foundation (TWF) has discovered the first-ever viviparous skink genus and five new species belonging to it from peninsular India.

Why in the news?

  • The researchers have named the new genus as 'Dravidoseps', a combination of the Sanskrit words 'Dravid' and ‘Seps'.
  • This genus ‘Dravidoseps’ is distinct from the genus ‘Subdoluseps’, as it gives birth to its young—instead of laying eggs.
  • All the five newly discovered species are from the state of Tamil Nadu, and have been named as:
    • ‘Dravidoseps gingeeensis’ (from the Gingee Hills),
    • Dravidoseps jawadhuensis’ (Jawadhu Hills),
    • Dravidoseps kalakadensis’ (Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve),
    • Dravidoseps srivilliputhurensis’ (Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve)
    • ‘Dravidoseps tamilnaduensis’ (Kolli, Pachaimalai and Yercaud Hills).

About Skink

  • Skink is the common name for the lizards that comprise the family Scincidae.
  • It is typically smooth and shiny with small or rudimentary legs.
  • It is a type of reptile that has been around since the time of the dinosaurs.
  • They are mostly secretive ground dwellers or burrowers.
  • Skinks are highly alert, agile and fast moving and actively forage for a variety of insects and small invertebrates. 
  • Habitat: They can be found in a variety of habitats, from deserts to rainforests, and are well-known for their ability to camouflage with their surroundings. 
  • Distribution: These are represented throughout most of the world but are especially diverse in Southeast Asia and its associated islands, the deserts of Australia, and the temperate regions of North America.

Q1) What are Reptiles?

Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates. (Vertebrates have backbones.) They have dry skin covered with scales or bony plates and usually lay soft-shelled eggs.

Source: Researches discover 5 new species of reptiles that give birth to their young ones