Peta Hill – Skink fieldwork, Tasmania

its_a_boyCatching skinks is a tricky business and usually involves ‘fishing’. We use their favourite food as bait (mealworms) tied to the line with cotton and dangle this in front of a basking lizard. They grab the worm and with a ‘flick of the wrist’ we lift them into a bucket. Knowing whether I have caught a boy or a girl is important for my project; sexing these animals is done via hemipene eversion. The animal in the photo is a boy and you can see one of his hemipenes everted (they have two). My upcoming field trips will take me all over Tasmania, from sea level to some of our highest peaks!