Tachygyia microlepis (Duméril & Bibron)

Short-legged Tongan Skink (Tachygyia microlepis)

The enigmatic Short-legged Tongan Skink was described in the year 1839.

This species, which may well have been endemic to the island of Tongatapu, is known from only two specimens that were collected during the L’Astrolabe expedition in 1827.

The Short-legged Tongan Skink was a quite large terrestrial species with somewhat reduced legs, it probably fell prey to the numerous feral mammals, like cats, dogs, pigs and rats, that had been imported to the Tongan islands, both by Polynesians and Europeans.

The species is now generally considered extinct.

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References:

[1] G. R. Zug; I. Ineich; G. Pregill; A. M. Hamilton: Lizards of Tonga with Description of a New Tongan Treeskink (Squamata: Scincidae: Emoia samoensis Group). Pacific Science 66(2): 225-237. 2012

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