From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Skinks
Mains level : NA
Celebrating skinks, Zoological Survey of India has listed 62 species.
Try this PYQ:
Q.With reference to India’s Biodiversity, Ceylon frogmouth, Coppersmith barbet, Gray-chinned minivet and White-throated redstart are-
What are Skinks?
- Skinks are lizards belonging to the family Scincidae, a family in the infraorder Scincomorpha.
- With long bodies, relatively small or no legs, no pronounced neck and glossy scales, skinks are common reptiles around homes.
- Although they are common reptiles and have a prominent role in maintaining ecosystems, not much is known about their breeding habits, and ecology because identification of the species can be confusing.
Certain notions about them
- Skinks are highly alert, agile and fast-moving and actively forage for a variety of insects and small invertebrates.
- The reduced limbs of certain skink species or the complete lack of them make their slithering movements resemble those of snakes, leading people to have the incorrect notion that they are venomous.
- This results in several of these harmless creatures being killed.
ZSI study on Skinks
- A recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) reveals that India is home to 62 species of skinks and says about 57% of all the skinks found in India (33 species) are endemic.
- Sepsophis (with one species)and Barkudia (with two species) are limbless skinks found in the hills and coastal plains of the eastern coast.
- Barkudia insularisis believed to be found only in the Barkud Island in Chilka lake in Odisha. Barkudia melanosticta is endemic to Visakhapatnam.
- Sepsophis punctatus is endemic to the northern part of Eastern Ghats.
- Five species of Kaestlea (blue-tailed ground skinks) are endemic to the Western Ghats and four species of Ristella (Cat skinks) also endemic to the southern part of Western Ghats.