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Target Species: Green-blooded skinks, Prasinohaema species
Location: Central, Madang & Highlands Provinces, Papua New Guinea
Director: Jon Stephens

Location: Highlands and Madang Provinces, Papua New Guinea.

Mission Statement:

Papua New Guinea is often billed as ‘The Land of the Unexpected’ and it is certainly that. Five small species of skinks with green blood are found here, the only green-blooded land vertebrates in the world. But why would these small inoffensive lizards evolve green blood? In 1968 research into the blood of green-blooded skinks determined that the colouration was due to the presence of a biliverdin-type pigment, like that found in bile. Mark has a theory that this may make the lizards taste bitter and deter predators, a once tried, never repeated experience for lizard-eating birds. Dr Chris Austin is the only scientist in the world currently studying green-blooded skinks and he has an alternative theory, one that if correct, might lead to a cure for human diseases like jaundice, or even malaria. Mark and Chris set out to scour the mountains and WWII wreck strewn jungles of PNG in an attempt to locate three of the five known green-blooded skink species and obtain blood samples for analysis. But whose theory is closest to the truth?

The Yellow-footed green-blooded skink, (Prasinohaema flavipes), is the largest and probably most widespread member of the genus Prasinohaema.

Species recorded during ‘Green Blood’

Species Common Name
Bufo marinus Cane toad
Litoria infrafrenata White-lipped treefrog
Litoria sp. A (PNG) (unidentified Highland treefrog)
Litoria sp. B (PNG) (unidentified Madang treefrog)
Phrynomantis wilhelmana Mt Wilhelm burrowing frog
Gekko vittatus Palm gecko
Hemidactylus frenatus Common house gecko
Lepidodactylus lugubris Mourning gecko
Nactus pelagicus Pelagic gecko
Carlia fusca Brown four-fingered skink
Cryptoblepharus virgatus Cream-striped snake-eyed skink
Emoia caeruleocauda Pacific blue-tailed skink
Emoia jakati Jakati River skink
Emoia kordoana Kordo skink
Emoia pallidiceps pallidiceps Eastern pale-headed skink
Emoia sp. A (unidentified emoid skink)
Emoia sp. B (unidentified emoid skink)
Lamprolepis smaragdina Emerald treeskink
Lipinia noctua Moth skink
Lobulia brongersmai Brongersmai’s skink
Lobulia elegans Elegant skink
Papuascincus stanleyanus Owen Stanley skink
Prasinohaema flavipes Yellow-footed green-blooded skink
Prasinohaema prehensicauda Prehensile-tailed green-blooded skink
Prasinohaema virens Green green-blooded skink
Sphenomorphus jobiensis Jobi skink
Sphenomorphus leptofasciatus Slender banded skink
Sphenomorphus maindroni Maindron’s skink
Tiliqua gigas New Guinea blue-tongue skink
Apodora papuana Papuan olive python
Leiopython albertisi D’Albertis python
Morelia amethistina Amethystine python
Boiga irregularis Brown treesnake
Dendrelaphis punctulatus Common treesnake