Copper Striped Blue-Tailed Skink Officially Extinct from the Hawaiian Islands

A species of lizard is now extinct from the Hawaiian Islands, making it the latest native vertebrate species to become extirpated from this tropical archipelago.

A copper-striped blue-tailed skink (Emoia impar) photographed in Samoa during a USGS field survey. Location: Samoa, Date Picture Taken: 2010, Photographer: Chris Brown, USGS

The copper striped blue-tailed skink (Emoia impar) — a sleek lizard with smooth, polished scales and a long, sky-blue tail — was last confirmed in the Na’Pali coast of Kauai in the 1960s. But repeated field surveys on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawai’i islands from 1988 to 2008 have yielded no sightings or specimens.

“No other landscape in these United States has been more impacted by extinction events and species invasions in historic times than the Hawaiian Islands, with as yet unknown long-term cascading consequences to the ecosystem,” said U.S. Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt. “Today, we close the book on one more animal that is unlikely to ever be re-established in this fragile island home.”

“This skink was once common throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and in fact the species can still be found on many other island groups in the tropical Pacific,” says Robert Fisher, a biologist with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center. “That’s what makes this extinction so intriguing: if an otherwise common animal can be completely extirpated from one island ecosystem but not others, then what does that tell us?”

Fisher and colleague Ivan Ineich of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris announced their findings on E. impar this month in the international conservation journal “Oryx,” published by Fauna and Flora International.

Small animals like this skink are prone to what Fisher and Ineich call “cryptic extinction” — when a species is easily confused with similar species that their extinction can go unnoticed for decades.

“The extinction of native Hawaiian bird species is well documented, partly because their presence and sounds had been so distinctive to humans,” says Ineich, who is also a researcher with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). “But without regular field surveys, we tend to overlook the disappearances of smaller, secretive species, along with the causes of their extinction.”

One of the last known specimens of the copper-striped blue-tailed skink (Emoia impar) collected from the Hawaiian Islands. Date Picture Taken: 04/09/2010 Photographer: Chris Brown, USGS

While the exact causes of the skink’s Hawaiian extinction is unclear, Fisher and Ineich note that island extinctions around the world often share similar factors, such as the loss of habitat due to uncontrolled human development. Another is competition or predation from invasive species accidentally or intentionally introduced through human migration and activity.

“There’s some evidence that an invasive ant was preying on these skinks,” Fisher says. “That’s a new factor we’ll need to examine as we look out for other at-risk species in the Pacific islands.”

Public Invited to the Grand Opening of Just Tacos Mexican Grill & Cantina on the Big Island

Just Tacos Mexican Grill & Cantina would like to invite the community for a day of cultural celebrations and Grand Opening of their newest location on the Kohala Coast, Friday, March 23, 2012 from 5 p.m.-2 a.m.  Just Tacos Mexican Grill & Cantina will be hosting live entertainment such as the band “Leche de Tigre” along with two VIP theme cocktail reception areas sponsored by Corona and Peligroso Tequila.

“Come join Just Tacos Mexican Grill & Cantina at the Shops at Mauna Lani for a night of Authentic Mexican Food and Margaritas,” said Jesus Santoyo, Owner and Founder.  “Our Mexican dishes are guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds with exotic flavors using the freshest ingredients the island has to offer.”

Just Tacos Mexican Grill & Cantina is dedicated to providing impeccable service within a comfy “fiesta” ambience, bringing the warmth and generosity of Mexico to your table. “Here at Just Tacos Mexican Grill & Cantina everyone is family,” said Santoyo.

Along with the Authentic Mexican Cuisine is a Tequila Bar serving over 300 different Tequilas.  “You will be blown away by the fine choices available for tasting,” said Santoyo.  “Pairing the right tequila with your meal is important, so the knowledgeable staff is ready to guide you in choosing the right tequila for your dish!  It will take the casual drinker around six months to try all of the available spirits.  If you thought you knew good tequila already, trust us you haven’t tried anything yet!”

For more information, visit www.justtacos.com or call 808-884-8484.

 

Hawaii Energy Workshop at Maku’u Farmers Market

Rising energy costs are a burden on most families in Puna. Learning how to budget, as well as, ways to save on electricity usage can keep more money in people’s pocket. To some the hardest part is where to start.

County Council 4 Candidate, Greggor Ilagan, is happy to announce that Maku`u Farmers Market is facilitating a free workshop on Mar 27, 2012 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm instructed by Helen Wai from Hawaii Energy.

Hawaii Energy is the state energy conservation and efficiency program implemented to help reduce Hawaii’s dependence on foreign oil. The workshop provides a hands-on approach to teach families how to budget and save money on their energy bill. In addition, a free advance power strip is given to each household that attend while supplies last.

These classes in Puna are being coordinated by Greggor Ilagan of HPP.

Future workshops at Sure Foundation Church and Solid Rock ministries are being scheduled.

Papa Mau: The Wayfinder – 1976 Hōkūle’a Music Video

In 1974, Hawaiians sailed the traditional voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a from Hawai’i to Tahiti and proved to the world that their ancestors had explored the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean by navigating with the stars. Papa Mau: The Wayfinder is the story of critical role that master navigator Mau Piailug played in that voyage, and the rebirth of Polynesian unity and pride that followed.

The Hōkūle’a was built by members of the newly formed Polynesian Voyaging Society, who dreamed of sailing in the way of their ancestors. Shortly thereafter, a search began for someone who could teach them the art of non-instrument navigation, which had been all but lost until they met Micronesian-born Mau, who agreed to share his knowledge. Follow the remarkable journey of an iconic voyaging canoe and a new generation of Hawaiian navigators who, under the guidance of Papa Mau, revitalized and reclaimed Polynesia’s voyaging tradition.

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Papa Mau: The Wayfinder is one episode in Pacific Heartbeat, a new anthology series for PBS that provides viewers a glimpse of the real Pacific—its people, cultures, languages, music, and contemporary issues.

Learn more about Papa Mau: The Wayfinder and Pacific Heartbeat at www.pacificheartbeat.org.