A lizard species once common throughout the Hawaiian archipelago is now officially extinct, according to a new paper published in Oryx
, the International Journal of Conservation.
The copper striped blue-tailed skink was last seen on the Na'Pali coast of Kauai in the 1960s, but field studies on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii in 1988 and 2008 showed no sign that they were still there, according to Mother Jones
Despite the fact that the lizard species has been missing for decades, no one seemed to notice in time to do anything to save the reptiles. The paper's authors explained that this is because a similar species was introduced to the islands and appears to have spread. While there does not seem to be a competition between the two lizards, they are similar in appearance.
If people had wanted to start an effort to save animals
such as these skinks, they may have started by tackling an invasive ant species. The cause of the extinction is still a mystery, but researchers believe that invasive, big-headed ants may have preyed on the reptiles.