Named after Henry Suter (1841-1981), a New Zealand conchologist (expert on mollusc shells).
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Parrish & Gill (2003) found a higher proportion individual O. suteri on the Princes Islands in the Three Kings group that appeared paler than those from nearby Great and North East Islands, and also from populations elsewhere in Northland. This was suggested as perhaps as an adaptation to living in areas where the rocks are covered in guano produced by Australasian gannets (Morus serrator) and red-billed gulls (Larus novaehollandiae). Not all the other sympatric lizard species appeared to show the same adaptation. The idea that the paleness of many individuals of O. suteri on the Princes Islands could be an adaptation to guano covered rocks is not supported by Whitaker (1968b), who did not record paleness among O. suteri on High Peak Rocks in the Poor Knights Islands where there is similar gannet guano.
Diving skink; Egg-laying skink; Suter's skink
A medium to large skink (SVL up to 70-126 mm, total length up to 215 mm). Body relatively thickset, but oval in cross-section. The mean body mass is 15.8 g (Towns 2002). Dorsal, lateral surfaces and limbs grey or brown, heavily blotched with black or dark brown; occasional specimens entirely black. Colour pattern varies considerably between individuals but never striped. Ventral surfaces greyish, occasionally pink or bright orange; sometimes spotted with black. Snout rather oval, and the cheek-region between the eye and ear may appear swollen when viewed from above.
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