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Western Skink

Detailed Description

The Western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus) is a relatively common and widespread lizard in Southern California. It is more secretive and prefers more grassy habitat than the Western fence lizard or the side-blotched lizard, yet USGS and National Park Service biologists are finding signs of genetic isolation in all these species. As urban development fragmented the Santa Monica Mountains scrubland into isolated "habitat islands", wildlife populations have also become genetically isolated as individuals are unable cross urban barriers to breed with neighboring members of their own species. Genetic isolation and loss of genetic diversity can lead to greater risk of a species' extinction.


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