Andrew has been Collection Manager of Amphibians and Reptiles (herpetology) Queensland Museum Network since 1998. He is responsible for preparation and registration of new specimens, caring for the collection and facilitating access by researchers and members of the public. Introducing members of the public and new researchers to the treasures of the collection is a constant pleasure.
In collaboration with the curator of herpetology, Patrick Couper, Andrew’s research focuses on skinks and geckos, principally taxonomy (the discovery of new species). Most research effort has focussed on the rainforests of Queensland, especially the leaftail geckos, but has also resulted in the revision of the Australian Ring-tailed Geckos (Cyrtodactylus) from one species to five, highlighting the tremendous diversity of these habitats that is still to be discovered.
A current project is the taxonomy of the skink genus Lerista, an endemic Australian lineage that has undergone spectacular speciation, with 97 species currently recognised. The genus is unusual in the diversity of its limb arrangements. The specialisation to a burrowing lifestyle has led to a progressive reduction in the number of fingers and toes, such that some species retain the full complement of five fingers and five toes, some species lack fore limbs but have a hindlimb with a limited number of toes and some species have no limbs at all. The genus includes the Retro Slider (Lerista allanae) a species found only in central Queensland, which was thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in 2009, when a specimen was donated to Queensland Museum Network. Preliminary investigation of the museum’s collections suggested that the diversity of Lerista in northern Queensland has been under-estimated. A three year research project is now underway to sample this genus more extensively in northern Queensland and will result in new species descriptions and a much improved understanding of the relationships between species and the mechanisms producing such diversity.
The ecology of invasive species, especially the Asian House Gecko, now nearly ubiquitous in urban Queensland, and the taxonomy and distribution of Australian sea snakes, are other research interests.
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland
Research projects supported by Project DIG
Legless lizards of Queensland
Research publications supported by Project DIG
Worthington Wilmer J, Amey A, McDougal C, Venz M, Peck S, and Oliver PM. (2020) Comparative mitochondrial phylogeography of two legless lizards (Pygopodidate) from Queensland’s fragmented woodlands. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution special issue http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22244662-20191081
Learn more about Andrew Amey