USGS: Lizard species extinct from Hawaiian Islands

HONOLULU (AP) - A species of lizard last confirmed on Kauai in the 1960s is officially extinct from Hawaii.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the copper striped blue-tailed skink was last confirmed in the Na Pali Coast area but field surveys on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island from 1988 to 2008 have yielded no sightings or specimens.

USGS Biologist Robert Fisher says the lizard was once common throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the species can still be found on many other island groups in the tropical Pacific.

Exact causes of its Hawaii extinction are unclear but Fisher says there's some evidence an invasive ant was preying on the lizards.

The USGS says the extinction of small animals can go unnoticed for decades because they can be easily confused with similar species.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.