Team came across species while studying human impact on herpatofauna in Andhra Pradesh
Zoologists from Osmania University have rediscovered a species belonging to the lizard family, which was last seen way back in 1839 in the then Bengal province. The species, thought to be extinct till now, has been identified as Lygosoma Vosmaerii and is also known as Vosmer's Writhing Skink. It was found by the research team at Jaggayyapet, Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh.
Since 2007, the research team has been documenting the impact of human interference on the amphibian and reptilian fauna in several ‘disturbed' habitats of Andhra Pradesh. During one such study tour, in the areas adjacent to limestone quarries near Jaggayapet, the team came across the species of skink. The findings of the research team have been published in the online ‘Journal of Threatened Taxa' [www.threatenedtaxa.org] in December, 2009. The research team maintained that 15 species of skink occur in the Oriental region, of which 11 species are from India and to date four species of writhing skink have been recorded in Andhra Pradesh. This is the fifth species which has been added to the herpatofauna (reptiles and amphibians) of Andhra Pradesh.
“Because of their rarity, it's important to protect the habitat. There is a need to take up future surveys in the Eastern Ghats and forests along the Godavari river basin. Such surveys could provide us with more details on the distribution of Vosmer's Writhing Skink,” says C. Srinivasulu, Taxonomist and Bio-diversity expert, Zoology Department, Osmania University, who led the research team.
The research team has managed to preserve and deposit the adult specimen of the skink in the Natural History Museum of Osmania University, Hyderabad. “Our findings prove that the species is not extinct. The skink has very small limbs with five fingers and four toes with a red tail. It survives on termites, ants and small insects like grasshoppers etc. The specimen was found under a boulder,” Dr. Srinivasulu said.
Other members in the research team were M. Seetharamaraju, R. Sreekar, Bhargavi Srinivasulu, Harpreet Kaur and P. Venkateshwarlu.