School of Science
Edith Cowan University
Malformations of vertebrae potentially occur across many taxa, particularly in Testudines, which are susceptible to kyphosis (dorsoventral curvature of the spine). Such malformations may stem from either genetic or environmental origins, and their prevalence and associated impacts on survival remain poorly understood. However, scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine) is rarely reported and especially so in wild lizards. We report here on the first known case of scoliosis in a wild Australian lizard, the skink Ctenotus fallens, from Perth, Western Australia. This occurrence is the first of 805 individuals captured in a natural population monitored annually for the past 11 years. Reporting and monitoring of the frequency of such abnormalities may be a useful indicator of environmental change-induced impacts on populations.
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