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Unwanted invasive lizard species in the Bay of Islands

The plague skink (Lampropholis delicata), sometimes known as rainbow skink, is a small lizard introduced to New Zealand from Australia. Although smaller than native skinks, they do look very similar.

Plague skinks are able to reach high population densities in a relatively short time, as they lay clusters of eggs instead of giving birth to live young as our native skinks do. They potentially compete with our native lizard species for food, habitat and space.

Plague skinks were first recorded in Auckland during the 1960s, probably arriving accidentally in cargo. Since then, they have steadily expanded their range through the North Island, and have now reached the Bay of Islands' mainland.

It is essential that this invasive pest lizard species does not get from the mainland to the island sanctuaries. Effective biosecurity is our best defense.

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