IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


24th May, 2023 Environment

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  • The first-ever sighting of Barkudia limbless skink (Barkudiamelanostica), a small reptile, renowned for its unique limbless body and extraordinary adaptation, which has long eluded scientific observation, has been reported at the Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary 

About The Barkudia limbless skink

  • It is fossorial in nature and is characterised by its elongated body, muddy brown colouration, and absence of limbs, a unique adaptation to its environment.
  • Barkudia insularis commonly known as the Madras spotted skink is a critically endangered limbless skink which was described in 1917 by Nelson Annandale and rediscovered in the wild in 2003.
  • It was previously believed to be found only in the mangrove habitats near Barkuda Island in Chilka Lake, Odisha, India.
  • Later observations in adjoining parts of Odisha indicate a larger range within the state.
  • The lizard looks like a large earthworm and lives in the subsoil and probably feeds on small arthropods.
  • Only four reports of the species have been made since its description, all within Odisha: observations in 1917 and 2003 at Barkuda Island in Chilka Lake, a 1979 observation in Nandankanan Zoological Park, and a 2022 observation made near the vicinity of Buguda.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family:  Scincidae
  • Genus: Barkudia
  • Species: B. insularis

About The Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary

  • The Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary is a forest located near Visakhapatnam.
  • It has been under the control of Andhra Pradesh Forest Department since 10 March 1970.
  • It was named after the local hillock Kambalakonda. Named after the local hillock " Kambalakonda " acting as a green lung for citizens of Vizianagaram, is this large and sprawling sanctuary.
  • It is a dry evergreen forest mixed with scrub and meadows and covers an area of 70.70 square kilometers.
  • The indicator species is the Indian leopard.


  • There is diverse flora and fauna in this sanctuary representing the Eastern Ghats. Floral diversity is high.
  • The floral diversity is wonderful with plants like Tectona grandis, Randia dumetorum, Grewaia tiliaefolia, Abrus precatorius, etc


  • The invertebrate fauna too is wonderful with insects, arachnids, etc.
  • Reptilian fauna is represented by Russell viper, Common Cobra, Chameleon, etc. Avifauna includes Paradise flycatcher, Tree pie, Quails, Partridges, etc.
  • The mammalian fauna in the Sanctuary includes mammals like Leopard, Barking Deer, Jackal, etc.


Q) Which of the following statements with reference to Barkudia limbless skink is/are correct?

1. The lizard looks like a large earthworm and lives in the subsoil.

2. It is commonly known as the Madras spotted skink and is a critically endangered species as per IUCN list.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Answer: 3