Added 13 October 2001. Last updated 28 February 2014: added link to Ablepharus.

A look at the

SKINKS

Family SCINCIDAE



Introduction

The skinks make up the largest family of lizards, with the number of species varying between 800-1,200 depending on which authority one believes.

Skinks are not "household name" lizards to many people, at least to those in Europe. Most non-herpetophiles have a good idea what a gecko, an iguana or a monitor may like look, but skinks have suffered from relative anonymity despite the recent boom in popularity of lizard pets and the corresponding rise in the number of Blue-Tongue Skinks (Tiliqua species) being kept. Among hobbyists and perhaps "serious" researchers, skinks are often overlooked as shy and rather nondescript lizards.

In fact while many skinks are similar in form and behaviour, as a group they show an interesting variety of lifestyles and biological developments. There are striking gradations of limb reduction or loss within many of the genera, while on the other hand some skinks give genuine live birth to their young: not just ovoviviparity (where the young break out of an egg membrane shortly before birth) but true viviparity whereby the young are born with a placenta. A few species also display some evidence of maternal care. Most skinks are on the small side, being less than 12" in total length, but there are a few medium-sized and highly prized species from Australia and the Pacific.

In shape and form skinks are nevertheless a fairly conservative family. The archetypal skink is often easily distinguished by a rather rounded or "cylindrical" body, tapering tail, and most characteristically, smooth and often shiny scales. There is usually an external ear opening and eyes with eyelids, although a few species have vestigial eyes and one species has a transparent "window" in a fused eyelid. The greatest variation tends to be in the limbs, which range from well-developed to absent, and the number of digits can also vary. Few are particularly colourful, although there are some striking exceptions to this rule.

The general characteristcs of skinks are as follows (details from Grzimek):

Top of head covered by large, symmetrically arranged, ossified scales;
Round scales on back and belly are imbricated (overlapping) and usually ossified;
Below the scales are small osteoderms, rounded or hexagonal like the scales themselves and penetrated by symmetrical tubules;
Teeth are pleurodont;
The abdominal musclature is not closely associated with the belly scales;
There are no femoral or preanal pores;
The tongue is free and moderately long, slightly notched at the end and bearing imbricating (overlapping) scalelike papillae;
Body is usually cylindrical;
Head usually ends in sharp snout;
Tail is pointed at the tip.

Legless skinks can be easily distinguished from legless anguid lizards by the form of the tongue.

Distribution

There are a few species in Europe and South America, with a somewhat larger number in North America, but most skinks are distributed fairly evenly throughout Asia, Africa and especially the Australo-Pacific region, where skinks colonised not only Australia but many Pacific islands. New Zealand has two genera of skinks, both of which are interesting from several behavioural aspects of view such as their cool habitat and social structure. Worldwide, terrestrial and fossorial (burrowing) forms predominate, with arboreal and aquatic forms being much rarer.

Taxonomy

Taxonomically, the Scincidae have traditionally been divided into three subfamilies: the Scincinae, found mostly in the Old World except for Australia; the Acontiinae, from southern Africa, and the Lygosomatiinae, which is distributed worldwide and includes any skinks found in Australia or South America (Mattison). Some authorities formerly omitted the Acontiinae and added the Tiliquinae, a subfamily covering the large skinks such as Tiliqua and Egernia and also the probably extinct Macroscincus from Cape Verde: this has however shown to be erroneous. Other authorities recently added the subfamily Eumecinae, but this is still unconfirmed.

On February 26 2004 Dr Andreas Schmitz of the Department of Herpetology and Ichthyology at the Natural History Museum of Geneva was kind enough to send me a list of the latest changes in the taxonomy of scincid lizards, as well as pointing out a couple of errors on my part. At the risk of doing an injustice to his comprehensive explanation, I will try to summarise the major changes as follows:

There are also a number of other genera mentioned below which are synonyms of other genera. Dr Schmitz also provided a list of literature references containing these changes.

Given the above, and bearing in mind the fluid state of scincid taxonomy, I have decided to add the new genera to the list below. The old names will be retained in the list, mainly because they often occur even in recent literature, but where they are synonyms for other genera, this will be clearly stated. We will also adjust the numbers of species in each genus accordingly, although this will take some time. This does not claim to be an infallible guide, but we do want to make sure that it is accurate as possible.

The following is a guide to the skink genera.

NAVIGATION: As this is a large page we have placed a couple of navigation links in each genus box. Click on "B" to go to the Bibliography, or "I" to go back up to the index (Quick Links).

Ablepharus, Lidless/Snake-Eyed Skinks

Acontias, Greater Legless Skinks

Acontophiops, Woodbush Legless Skink

Afroablepharus, Dwarf Skinks

Amphiglossus, Common\Water Skinks

Androngo, Greater Burrowing Skink

Anomalopus, Worm Skinks

Apterygodon, Borneo Skink

Asymblepharus, Lidless Skinks

Ateuchosaurus, Oriental Ateuchosaurus

Barkudia, Madras Spotted Skinks

Bartleia, Bartle Frere Cool Skink

Bassiana, Cool Skinks

Brachymeles, Short-Legged Skinks

Caledoniscincus , New Caledonian Skinks

Calyptotis, Calyptotis Skinks

Carlia, Rainbow Skinks

Cautula, Rainforest Cool Skink

Chabanaudia

Chalcides, Barrel Skinks

Chalcidoseps, Thwaite's Skink

Coeranoscincus, Snake-Toothed Skinks

Cophoscincopus, Keeled Water Skink

Corucia, Prehensile-Tailed/Monkey Skink

Cryptoblepharus, Shinning Skinks

Cryptoscincus, Secret Skink

Ctenotus, Ctenotus

Cyclodina, New Zealand Skinks

Cyclodomorphus, Oak Skinks

Dasia, Dasia Skinks

Davewakeum, Miriam's Skink

Egernia, Spiny Skinks

Emoia, Whiptail Skinks

Eremiascincus, Sand Swimmers

Eroticoscincus, Elf Skinks

Eugongylus, Sheen Skinks

Eulamprus, Five-Fingered Skinks

Eumeces, Berber Skinks

Eumecia, Western Serpentiform Skinks

Euprepes, Serpentiform Skinks

Eurylepis, Elf Skinks

Evesia, Bell's Skink

Feylinia, Feylinias

Fojia, Fojii Skink

Geomyersia, Australian Island Skinks

Geoscincus, (Bar-Lipped) Skink

Glaphyromorphus, (Bar-Lipped) Skinks

Gnypetoscincus, Prickly Forest Skink

Gongylomorphus, Bojer Skinks

Gongylus, Thick-Tailed Skinks

Graciliscincus, Sadler's Skink

Haackgreerius, Haacke-Greer's Skink

Hemiergis, Earless Skinks

Hemisphaeriodon, Pink-Tongued Skink

Isopachys, Isopachys Skinks

Janetaescincus, Janet's Skinks

Lacertaspis, Lidless Skinks

Lacertoides

Lacertus, Eared Skinks

Lamprolepis, Emerald Skinks

Lampropholis, Sunskinks

Lankascincus, Tree Skinks

Leiolopisma, Ground Skinks

Leptoseps, Leptoseps

Leptosiaphos, Five-Toed Skinks

Lerista, Sliders

Lioscincus, New Caledonian Skinks

Lipinia, Lipinia Skinks

Lobulia, Lobulia Skinks

Lubuya, Lubuya Skinks

Lygisaurus, Litter Skinks

Lygosoma, Writhing Skinks

Mabuya, Typical Skinks

Macroscincus, Cape Verde Giant Skink

Marmorosphax, Marmorosphax Skinks

Melanoseps, Limbless Skinks

Menetia, Dwarf Skinks

Mesoscincus

Mochlus, Fire Skinks

Morethia, Morethia/Fire-Tailed Skinks

Nangura, Nangur Skink

Nannoscincus, Elf/Mulch Skinks

Neoseps, Sand Skink

Nessia, Nessia Skinks

Niveoscincus, Cool Skinks

Notoscincus, Soil-Crevice Skinks

Oligosoma, Common Skinks

Ophiomorus, Snake-Eyed Skinks

Ophioscincus, Snake Skinks

Pamelaescincus, Gardiner's Skink

Panaspis, Snake-Eyed Skinks

Papuascincus, Papuan Skinks

Parachalcides

Paracontias, Stone Skinks

Paralipinia

Parvoscincus, Diminutive Skinks

Phoboscincus, Garnier's Skinks

Plestiodon, Five-Lined Skinks

Prasinohaema, Green Tree Skinks

Proablepharus, Soil-Crevice Skinks

Proscelotes, Slender Skinks

Pseudoacontias, Giant Madagascar Skinks

Pseudemoia, Window-Eyed Skinks

Pygomeles, Short Skinks

Riopa

Ristella, Ristella Skinks

Saiphos, Three-Toed Skinks

Saproscincus, Shade/Litter Skinks

Scelotes, Dwarf Burrowing Skinks

Scincella, Smooth/Ground Skinks

Scincopus, Banded Skinks

Scincus, Sandfish

Scolecoseps, Limbless Skinks

Sepsina, Savannah Burrowing Skinks

Sigaloseps

Simiscincus

Sphenomorphus, Forest Skinks

Sphenops, Sandfish

Tachygia

Tiliqua, Blue-Tongued Skinks

Trachydosaurus, Pine-Cone Skinks

Tribolonotus, Helmet Skinks

Tropidophorus, Keeled Skinks

Tropidoscincus, New Caledonian Whip-Tailed Skinks

Typhlacontias, Western Burrowing Skinks

Typhlosaurus, Blind Legless Skinks

Voeltzkowia, Burrowing Blind Skinks

 

 



Genus

Common Name

No. of Species

Distribution

Notes

Ablepharus

Lidless/Snake-Eyed Skinks

5-7

SE Europe, W Russia, C Asia, Middle East

?. B I

Acontias

Greater Legless Skinks

8

S Africa

  B I

Acontophiops

Woodbush Legless Skink

1

S Africa

Recently synonymised with Acontias by one authority: see Reptile Database entry.  B I

Afroablepharus

Dwarf Skinks

4

W & C Africa

B I

Amphiglossus

Common/Water Skinks

4

Madagascar and neighbouring islands

  B I

Androngo

Greater Burrowing Skinks

1-4

Madagascar

 Legless skinks. 3 of the species are now considered to be part of the genus Amphiglossus by some authorities. B I

Anomalopus

Worm Skinks

7

NE Australia (Queensland, NSW)

Small smooth-scaled skinks with reduced or absent limbs.   B I

Apterygodon

Borneo Skink

1

Indonesia, Malaysia, Borneo

Variously considered a Dasia or Lygosoma species at times: see EMBL database entry for details. As at 2004, considered a synonym of Dasia. B I

Asymblepharus

Lidless Skinks

4

Central Asia, Indian subcontinent and Nepal

  B I

Ateuchosaurus

Oriental Ateuchosaurus

2

China and Japan

?. B I

Barkudia

Madras Spotted Skinks

2

India

  B I

Bartleia

Bartle Frere Cool Skink

1

NE Australia (Queensland, Cape York peninsula)

1 shortish species formerly found in PseudemoiaB I

Bassiana

Cool Skinks

3

S Australia

Species formerly considered members of Pseudemoia. B I

Brachymeles

Short-Legged Skinks

16

Mainly Philippines: also Malaysia

  B I

Caledoniscincus

New Caledonian Skinks

11

New Caledonia

? B I

Calyptotis

Calyptotis Skinks

5

Australia (Queensland and NSW)

  B I

Carlia

Rainbow Skinks

26

Mainly Australia (esp. Queensland): Papua New Guinea, Indonesia & islands

  B I

Cautula

Rainforest Cool Skink

1

Australia (NSW and Queensland)

  B I

Chabanaudia

?

1*

Gabon

Now considered a Feylinia species: see EMBL database entry. B I

Chalcides

Barrel Skinks

20

N Africa, Europe, W Asia

Cylindrical-shaped skinks with varying degrees of reduced limbs: C. ocellatus is a popular terrarium subject. B I

Chalcidoseps

Thwaite's Skink

1

Sri Lanka

Monotypic genus. B I

Chioninia

Cape Verde Skinks

 

Cape Verde islands

Species formerly considered to be part of the large Mabuya genus

Coeranoscincus

Snake-Toothed Skinks

2

Australia (NSW & Queensland)

  B I

Cophoscincopus

Keeled Water Skinks

3

West Africa.

?. B I

Corucia

Prehensile-Tailed/Monkey-Tailed/Solomon Islands Skink

1

Solomon Islands

  B I

Cryptoblepharus

Shinning Skinks

29

Indo-Pacific region, as far west as S Africa

Small skinks with well-developed limbs. Often found on shorelines.  B I

Cryptoscincus

Secret Skink

1

Madagascar

?. B I

Ctenotus

Ctenotus

93

Australia

?. B I

Cyclodina

New Zealand Skinks

12

Mainly New Zealand, one species from Australia

Formerly ascribed to Leiolopisma. C. lichenigera is found in New South Wales and on Lord Howe and Norfolk islands. Latest studies now consider Cyclodina to be a synonym of Oligosoma. B I

Cyclodomorphus

Oak Skinks/ Bluetongues [NB not to be confused with the Blue-Tongue Skinks of the Tiliqua genus]

3

Australia (inc. Tasmania)

Somewhat smaller than the Tiliqua "Blue-Tongued" Skinks but similar in form and build. B I

Dasia

Dasia Skinks

8

India and SE Asia

?. B I

Davewakeum

Miriam's Skink

1

Thailand

  B I

Egernia

Spiny Skinks

29

Australia

A genus of mainly "spiky" skinks with well-developed limbs and true viviparous reproduction. Some have become popular terrarium subjects. B I

Emoia

Whiptail Skinks, Mangrove Skinks

74

S Pacific, inc. Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Solomon Islands, Australia

A very successful Indo-Pacific genus. Mattison notes that their predilection for shoreline or mangrove forest habitats has undoubtedly aided their distribution. These are unusual skinks in several ways: they have long limbs, many are arboreal or semi-arboreal, and of these treedwelling species, many are green with some having brightly coloured tails, often blue (Mattison). B I

Eremiascincus

Sand Swimmers

2

Australia

  B I

Eroticoscincus

Elf Skink

2

SE Queensland, Australia

  B I

Eugongylus

Sheen Skinks

5

Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Pacific Islands

?. B I

Eulamprus

Five-Fingered Skinks

15

Australia

  B I

Eumeces

Berber Skinks

3

N Africa through Middle East and C Asia to India

This small genus includes the Berber Skink, more usually known scientifically as Eumeces schneideri. These are medium-sized (up to 12") and attractive skinks.  B I

Eumecia

Western Serpentiform Skinks

2

Sub-Saharan Africa

?. B I

Euprepes

Serpentiform Skinks

2

W Africa

Considered a synonym of Euprepis. B I

Euprepis

 

 

Africa and Madagascar

Contains those African lizards formerly considered part of the large Mabuya genus (see Taxonomy).

Eurylepis

Elf Skinks

3

Middle East, C Asia and esp. Indian subcontinent

Genus of 3 skinks of which 2 were formerly considered to be part of EumecesB I

Eutropis

 

 

Asia 

Contains those Asian lizards formerly considered part of the large Mabuya genus (see Taxonomy).

Evesia

Bell's Skink

1

Sri Lanka

Status unclear: see EMBL database entryB I

Feylinia

Feylinids/Limbless Skinks

5

Africa (not south)

Legless lizards considered a separate family by some.  B I

Fojia

Fojii Skink

1

New Guinea

  B I

Geomyersia

Australian Island Skinks

2

S Pacific

?. B I

Geoscincus

(Bar-Lipped) Skink

1

New Caledonia

Formerly considered a Eugongylus species.  B I

Glaphyromorphus

(Bar-Lipped) Skinks, Pygmy Tree Skinks

16

Australia, Indonesia

  B I

Gnypetoscincus

Prickly Forest Skink

1

Australia (Queensland)

  B I

Gongylomorphus

Bojer's Skink

1

Mauritius, possibly neighbouring islands

  B I

Gongylus

Thick-Tailed Skinks

3

Australia

  B I

Graciliscincus

Sadler's Skink

1

New Caledonia

? B I

Haackgreerius

Haacke-Greer's Skink

1

Somalia

 Formerly considered a Lygosoma species. B I

Hakaria

 

1

Socotra Island

 

Hemiergis

Earless Skinks

5

Australia

  B I

Hemisphaeriodon

Pink-Tongued Skink

1

Australia

Not quite as popular as the closely related Tiliqua species (Blue-Tongued Skinks) but still does well in captivity, with a marked preference for snails and other land molluscs.  B I

Isopachys

Isopachys Skinks

4

Thailand and Burma

  B I

Janetaescincus

Janet's Skinks

2

Seychelles

Formerly considered Amphiglossus species.  B I

Lacertaspis

Lidless Skinks

2

Equatorial Africa

Obscure skink: even the EMBL listing for this species contains no information. The only information I have been able to find on the Internet is at http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/mhng/page/erpiamre.htm B I

Lacertoides

?

1

New Caledonia

A rather unusual and difficult to classify skink: see EMBL database entryB I

Lacertus

Eared Skinks

2

Somalia

  B I

Lamprolepis

Emerald Skinks?

4

Indonesia

At least two of these species are sometimes assigned to the Dasia genus instead.  B I

Lampropholis

Sunskinks

11

Australia

One species has been introduced in New Zealand and Hawaii. B I

Lankascincus

Tree Skinks

6

Sri Lanka

  B I

Leiolopisima

Ground Skinks

9

Fiji, Indian Ocean, Australia (see text)

The nine species of this genus seem to be either extinct or possibly synonymous with different creatures. See the EMBL database for more details. Originally this genus was much larger, comprising species (especially New Zealand skinks, now Cyclodina and Oligosoma ) which are now placed in their own genera. As such it was believed to be a link between the lizards of Australia and New Zealand (Mattison). B I

Leptoseps

?

2

Thailand, Vietnam

 At least one of the species in this genus is possibly synonymous with a Sphenomorphus species: see EMBL database entry. B I

Leptosiaphos

Five-Toed Skinks

18

Africa

  B I

Lerista

Sliders

84

Australia

 This extremely large genus shows varying degrees of limb reduction from well-developed fore- and hind limbs through to just hind legs and finally complete limblessness. These are all burrowing skinks: most are brown, often with dark longitudinal lines or dark flanks (Mattison). All are insectivorous and some are associated with termite nests. B I

Lioscincus

New Caledonian Skinks

6

New Caledonia

  B I

Lipinia

Lipinia Skinks

21

Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and other Indian and Pacific oceanic islands

 One species, L. noctua, is particularly widespread throughout the Pacific. B I

Lobulia

Lobulia Skinks

2

New Guinea

  B I

Lubuya

Ivens' Skinks

2

Somalia

Now considered a synonym of EuprepisB I

Lygisaurus

Litter Skinks

9

New Guinea (?), mainly Australia

  B I

Lygosoma

Writhing Skinks

38

Sub-Saharan Africa, Indian subcontinent

  B I

Mabuya

Typical Skinks

90

Sub-Saharan Africa, Indian subcontinent, SE Asia, Indo-Pacific, S America and Caribbean

Very large and cosmopolitan genus that has however recently been broken up into four families. Under the new organisation, only those species distributed in South America are still considered Mabuya: the others are reassigned to Chioninia, Euprepis and EutropisB I

Macroscincus

Cape Verde Giant Skink

1

Cape Verde Islands

Possibly extinct.  B I

Marmorosophax

?

2

New Caledonia

  B I

Melanoseps

Limbless Skinks

4

Africa

Limbless skinks.  B I

Menetia

Dwarf Skinks

9

Australia

  B I

Mesoscincus

?

3

Central America

 Three species formerly included in the Eumeces genus. B I

Mochlus

Fire Skinks

4

Sub-Saharan Africa

  B I

Morethia

Morethia/Fire-Tailed Skinks

8

Australia

  B I

Nangura

Nangur Skink

1

Queensland, Australia

  B I

Nannoscincus

Elf/Mulch Skinks

6

Mainly New Caledonia, one in Australia

  B I

Neoseps

Sand Skink

1

Florida, USA

Considered a synonym of Eumeces by some authorities.  B I

Nessia

Nessia Skinks

8

Sri Lanka

  B I

Niveoscincus

Cool-Skinks

8

Mainly Tasmania, Australia: one also on W Pacific islands

 Small skinks with typical shiny scales and well-developed limbs. B I

Notoscincus

Soil-Crevice Skinks

2

Australia

Small skinks with pentadactyl limbs and small ear openings. Not much known about their ecology, etc.  B I

Oligosoma

Common (New Zealand) Skinks

23

New Zealand

This genus was formally reinstated by Patterson and Daugherty in 1995 (see Royal Society of New Zealand). Only one is egg-laying. B I

Ophiomorus

Snake-Eyed Skinks?

10

Mainly Middle East and Central Asia: also India and Greece

  B I

Ophioscincus

Snake Skinks

3

Australia

  B I

Pamelaescincus

Gardiner's Skink

1

Seychelles

Formerly considered a member of Amphiglossus or ScelotesB I

Panaspis

Snake-Eyed Skinks

17-30

Sub-Saharan Africa

Terrestrial and fossorial species. B I

Papuascincus

Papua Skinks

4

New Guinea, Irian Jaya (Indonesia)

  B I

Parachalcides

?

1

Arabia

Considered a synonym of HakariaB I

Paracontias

Stone Skinks

5

Madagascar

  B I

Paralipinia

?

1

Vietnam

See EMBL database entry for details of this skink.  B I

Parvoscincus

Diminutive Skinks

2

Philippines

  B I

Phoboscincus

Garnier's Skinks

2

New Caledonia and Loyalty Islands

  B I

Plestiodon

Five-Lined Skinks, Opaque-Lidded Skinks

40

North America and Asia

Species formerly assigned to Eumeces. Some of the North American species are kept as pets.

Prasinohaema

Green Tree Skink

5

Mainly New Guinea, also Solomon Islands

The name of this genus is derived from the green blood of its species. This green colour is actually caused by a pigment, but the reason for this is as yet unknown.  B I

Proablepharus

Soil-Crevice Skinks

3

Australia

  B I

Proscelotes

Slender Skinks

3-4

S & E Africa

  B I

Pseudoacontias

Giant Madagascar Skinks

2

Madagascar

  B I

Pseudemoia

Window-Eyed Skinks

6

Australia, Indonesia

  B I

Pygomeles

Short Skinks

2

Madagascar

 Legless skinks. B I

Riopa

?

3

SE Asia

  B I

Ristella

Ristella Skinks

4

India

  B I

Saiphos

Three-Toed Skink

1

Australia (NSW and Queensland)

  B I

Saproscincus

Shade Skinks/ Litter Skinks

9

Australia (NSW and Queensland)

  B I

Scelotes

Dwarf Burrowing Skinks

20-23

Mainly S Africa, one in Tanzania

  B I

Scincella

Smooth Skinks /Ground Skinks

24

Mainly Indian subcontinent, China and SE Asia, but also N America and Mexico

  B I

Scincopus

Banded Skink

1

North Africa and Sahara

  B I

Scincus

Sandfish

3

N Africa, Sahara, C Africa, Arabia, Middle East, C Asia and Pakistan

Burrowing skinks with four limbs but shovel-like snout. B I

Scolecoseps

Limbless Skinks?

3

Tanzania and Mozambique

  B I

Sepsina

Savannah Burrowing Skinks

4-5

Sub-Saharan Africa

  B I

Sigaloseps

?

2

New Caledonia

  B I

Simiscincus

?

1

New Caledonia

 The taxonomic relationship of this species is problematic: see the EMBL database entry. B I

Sirenoscincus

 

 

 

No data yet available.

Sphenomorphus

Forest Skinks

104

SE Asia, Indonesia, Pacific and Australia

  B I

Sphenops

Sandfish

3

N & C Africa, Sahara, Israel

Burrowers in a similar manner to Scincus but more cylindrical and with the limbs greatly reduced, especially the forelimbs.  B I

Tachygia

?

1

Tonga

Probably extinct: see EMBL database entry. B I

Tiliqua

Blue-Tongued Skinks

7

Australia, New Guinea

Popular terrarium subjects, these are large skinks with no limb reduction and somewhat cylindrical bodies. All are viviparous. The genus now includes what was formerly Trachydosaurus. B I

Trachydosaurus

Pine Cone Skinks

1*

Australia

Trachydosaurus is now definitely considered a synonym of Tiliqua, but is found in recent works. An eagerly-sought but hard-to-acquire terrarium subject. The tail is of a similar shape and size to the head, probably being a defensive distraction. Some still consider this a member of the Tiliqua genus. B I

Tribolonotus

Helmet Skinks

8

Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and neighbouring islands.

These are rather atypical-looking skinks, having heavily keeled and spiny scales. Their preferred habitat seems to be streams; running water in any captive situation appears to be highly beneficial if not mandatory. All lay a single egg per clutch apart from T. schmidtii, which gives birth to a single young. B I

Tropidophorus

Keeled Skinks

20

Mainly SE Asia, also China and Indonesia

Similar in form to the Tribolonotus genus.  B I

Tropidoscincus

New Caledonian Whiptailed Skinks?

3

New Caledonia

A recently described genus.  B I

Typhlacontias

Western Burrowing Skinks

7

S Africa

  B I

Typhlosaurus

Blind Legless Skinks

2

S Africa

Very fossorial genus.  B I

Vietnascincus

 

 

 

No data yet available.

Voeltzkowia

Burrowing Blind Skinks

5

Madagascar

  B I

Bibliography - Skinks

There seems to be no one single work (at least outside academic circles) dealing with the family Scincidae in its entirety, the nearest popular treatment being Walls' Skinks (see below). Skinks are mentioned in most books dealing with lizards as a whole, but even then usually concentrate (understandably) on that relative handful which are kept on a regular basis in captivity. It is to be hoped that a larger book similar to TFH's Agamid Lizards or Iguanid Lizards will soon appear.

Skinks, Jerry G Walls, TFH 1996. This is a good basic introduction to the family, written from a keeper's point of view and dealing with the better known or more unusual species continent by continent. Walls is a good writer on most herpetocultural and other animal subjects, and this is a good place to start.

The German site Repti-Box has a very useful summary table of information about a few of the species of skink contained in these pages. Although in German, the actual care details such as temperature ranges and humidity are fairly easy to pick up.

Animal Life Encyclopedia Volume 6: Reptiles, Grzimek,1975 provided an overview of the general characteristics of skinks and of some of the lesser-known families.

Index of Skink-related articles from herpetological magazines.

Bibliography: specific genera

Tiliqua, Blue-Tongued Skinks

Blue-Tongued Skinks: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity, Jerry G Walls, TFH 1996. Walls writes well on most herpetological and invertebrate subjects, and this brief book is no exception, covering the taxonomy and requirements not only of the Tiliqua species but also of Cyclodomorphus (Oak Skinks), Hemisphaeriodon (Pink-Tongued Skink) and Trachydosaurus (Pine Cone Skink).


Corucia, Monkey/Prehensile-Tailed Skinks

General Care and Maintenance of Prehensile-Tailed Skinks, Philippe de Vosjoli, Herpetocultural Library. A very handy book covering the necessary requirements for these lizards. TFH have also produced a book by John Coborn covering these unique skinks.

 

Links

www.kingsnake.com has a list of Australian skinks with links to information and photographs.



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