New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1997) 21(2): 153- 160

Comparative ecology of two Oligosoma skinks in coastal Canterbury: A contrast with Central Otago

Research Article
Alastair B. Freeman 1,2
  1. Department of Entomology and Animal Ecology, P.O. Box 84, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand
  2. Present address: Conservation Strategy Branch, Far Northern Region, Department of Environment, Atherton, Queensland 4883, Australia

Baited pitfall traps were used to sample Oligosoma maccanni and Oligosoma nigriplantare polychroma at Birdlings Flat, on Kaitorete Spit, Canterbury, New Zealand. The two species of skink showed distinctive patterns of habitat use with O. maccanni being almost entirely confined to dunelands while O. n. polchroma was invariably captured in the shrub-covered terraces behind the dunes. This is in direct contrast to what has been documented for these species in central Otago. Habitat partitioning appears to have also influenced the patterning and colouration of the two species which is also opposite to what has been documented for these species in Central Otago. Other factors examined did not show the same degree of deviation from what has been documented for these species elsewhere. The Birdlings Flat populations of O. maccanni and O. n. polychroma are diurnally active summer breeders, and dietary generalists.