Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: North Carolina
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

North Carolina Project

Resolving Taxonomic Uncertainty in Caribbean Skink Species

December 2021 - November 2023


Participating Agencies

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

In 2014, the USFWS was petitioned to evaluate nine species of Caribbean skinks (Spondylurus spp.) for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Information on Caribbean skink distribution and ecology is extremely limited, and there remains the possibility that some species may already be extinct. Additionally, taxonomic uncertainty exists across Spondylurus spp., as the genus was reclassified and split into multiple species in 2012 based on analyses of museum specimens. Research to support a Species Status Assessment is therefore needed to (i) resolve taxonomic uncertainty in this species complex and (ii) document skink presence, characterize morphology, and document the distribution of age-classes at island-level scales. This information is critical to evaluating the listing status of these species and future efforts investigating population viability and extinction risk.