White's skink (Liopholis whitii)

​​Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment

Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 29 March.

Applicant: School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania

Species/Taxon: Whites Skink (Liopholis whitii)

Location: Private land on the hills surrounding Orford. 

Title of research: Seasonal hormone profiles of Whites Skink and their links to parental care

Aim of project: The aim of this project is to understand how hormone profiles in the blood of adult White’s Skink vary across the year in association with key periods of reproduction and parental care. 

Justification: As mammals, parental care is crucial to much of our family life. Our understanding of the evolution of parental care has largely come from an ecological and fitness perspective. That is, trying to comprehend why parental care evolves. However, this approach is incomplete without a more integrative understanding of how parental care evolves. This requires a greater understanding of the physiological and genetic mechanisms that underpin care giving behaviours. This project will produce new knowledge on how hormone profiles vary across the year during key periods of parental care in one of our native lizard species which display simple forms of parental care, Liopholis whitii. This will provide crucial baseline data that can be utilised to design targeted experimental studies that disentangle the extent to which these hormones are causally linked to key aspects of parental care (offspring tolerance and protection). Combined this will provide key insights into how simple forms of parental care are moderated.

Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: We will sample a maximum of 180 adult Whites skinks across the year. This includes an estimated 150 target individuals. A further 28 animals are included to cover any by-catch. Two individuals will be briefly taken to the laboratory the​n returned to their site of capture.

Activities undertaken and methods: Animals will be captured by hand, noosing or mealworm fishing. Lizards will be measured for length and weight, sexed, have their blood sampled and be marked for permanent identification. Lizards will then be released at site of capture. Two individuals will be briefly returned to the laboratory to have their blood taken. These animals will be housed in the laboratory for a one-week period, during which they will have their blood sampled one before being returned to their point of capture.

Fate of animals: All individuals will be released at point of capture.

Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): Minimal. All individuals will be held for a very short period while being processed and be released at their point of capture. Only two animals will be removed from their location. These will be held for a short period of time (max 1 week) in the laboratory before being released. 


Scientific Research Permits

Environment Division
GPO Box 44,
Hobart, TAS, 7000.