Pygmy Bluetongue Lizard
For starters, Australia’s pygmy bluetongue lizard doesn’t actually have a blue tongue. But it is a lizard (skink to be exact) and it is quite small. Declaration of this cryptic, shy reptile’s extinction was proven premature in the 1990s after a pygmy bluetongue was found in the belly of a run over snake. Ouch. Since then, extremely fragmented populations have been detected in South Australia’s native grasslands, but these spider-munching skinks remain endangered thanks to human activities. Climate change is next in line to give the bluetongue a run for its money, via cascading impacts on the plants and spiders that make the habitats and burrows that the skinks occupy. Worst case-scenario, the pygmy bluetongue lizard could be extinct by 2050. Another more optimistic estimate puts their extinction near 2080.
Art by John Harris