A species of lizard discovered recently in the South West is facing extinction as its habitat is destroyed by urban development.
The Coastal Plains Skink was classified as a new species in 2010 and is only found in a stretch of sand dunes between Dunsborough and Mandurah.
Scientists say the discovery has already been soured with the lizard under serious risk of being lost just as quickly as it was found.
Ecologist Geoffrey Kay, from the Australian National University, says residential development along the coast is posing a serious threat to the tiny reptile.
“The risk is that this animal which we’ve just described and realised occurs along the coastal plain is actually an area that’s heavily developed and an area that’s under some substantial threat of the ecosystem being modified,” he said.
“We may not actually know what the effects might be on this animal before all the work of identifying it might become undone.”
Geoffrey Kay says it is believed numbers of the lizard are already low, as only a few have ever been found in the wild.