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Cold blooded and proud

Cold blooded and proud

By Ben Barr – NorthTec Conservation and Environmental Management Tutor

Ayla Wiles is all about lizards! I’m not surprised as they are ridiculously awesome. As part of her Applied Science degree at NorthTec, Ayla is undertaking critical research into the beautiful skink species discovered on Bream Head this year. She is being supervised by Dr Olly Ball and myself in the biodiversity management major. Apart from wandering around listening to kaka and bellbird in the most amazing coastal broadleaf forest to be found in the region, Ayla will be trying to figure out exactly what makes these skinks tick.

So far she’s discovered they are nosy, addicted to sun, climb trees, and get eaten by introduced frogs… agghhhhhh! The research Ayla is doing will also allow DOC scientists to figure out how widespread they might be and to what extent they are threatened with extinction. She will even be involved with the naming process which all-in-all is not bad for a third year student! Ayla will be out in the field throughout January so if you bump into her say g’day.

Did you know we have more lizard species per square kilometre in New Zealand than Australia, and all of our species are only found in NZ? Our lizards are also quirky little things as they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs like most other reptiles.

If you find a lizard in your travels and you would like to know what it is send me a photo -

Also, to check out some photos of Ayla in action go to ; and to get involved with Bream Head Conservation Trust go to .

And if you want to study conservation and the environment go to


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