Common Blue-tongued Lizard image pb260158 182KB
Family Scincidae
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With close to 1,300 species, Skinks are the largest family of lizards in the world. There are 389 species of skink in Australia. This is about half of our lizard species. (The Australian Biological Resources Study)

The Australian Museum's Allen Greer is preparing an Encyclopedia of Australian Reptiles. The chapter on Scincidae provides detailed information on biological and behavioural aspects of this family.

Museum Victoria has a very good image reference website of lizards.

The best known members of this family are the common Grass Skink and the blue-tongued lizards (see below).

Eastern Water Skink image p3130454 198KB

The Eastern Water Skink holds a special memory for me, as it was the first "real" lizard I saw in the wild. It was on a bush-walk in the Royal National Park.

[The Royal National Park, established in 1879, is the world's second oldest national park - after Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA.]

Eastern Water Skink image p1310329 187KB

The Eastern Water Skink (Eulamprus quoyii) is also known as the Golden Water Skink, or simply as the Water Skink.

They grow to about 30cm, and can be found in the coastal rivers and creeks of New South Wales and Queensland, and inland in the Murray-Darling River System into Victoria and South Australia.

They bear live young (viviparous), and can lose their tail as a defence mechanism.

The Eastern Water Skink often has an olive glean.

These photos were taken in Cheltenham in Sydney and in Leura in the Blue Mountains.

Copper-tailed Skink image p3130474 196KB

The apt named Copper-tailed Skink (Ctenotus taeniolatus) grows to about 22cm and can be found all along the east coast.

They lay eggs (oviparous).

This photo was taken in Leura in the Blue Mountains.

Copper-tailed Skink image pa110314 189KB Red-throated Skink image p9200247 170KB

The image to the left shows two Copper-tailed skinks fighting. I can only assume they were males as it was mating season.

The image on the right shows two Red-throated Skinks fighting.

Museum Victoria has the Red-throated Skink's scientific name as Bassiana platynotum, however, in my research I have encountered up to half a dozen similar names - mostly having completely different family names, but with either platynotum or platynota as the "given name".

These photos were taken in Leura in the Blue Mountains.

Southern Rainbow Skink image IMG_1738 129KB

The surreal colours easily identifies the breeding male Southern Rainbow Skink (Carlia tetradactyla).

Members of this skink genus have four fingers and five toes.

This photo was taken by Jamie Gilmore in the Hunter Valley.

There are about thirty species in the Egernia genus. All are viviparous. Three of these are included below.

Black Rock Skink image p3040229 194KB

The Black Rock Skink (Egernia saxatilis) is also known as the Black Crevice Skink.

They grow to about 22cm and, as the name implies, live in the crevices of rocky outcrops.

The Black Rock Skink can be found in south-east Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

This photo was taken in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.

King's Skink image pa240151 162KB

King's Skink (Egernia kingii) occurs in coastal south-west Western Australia, and can grow to 55cm.

There is a belief that you won't find snakes where you find King's Skinks.

This photo was taken in Albany, Western Australia.

White's Skink image p3040212 197KB

White's Skink (Egernia whitii) is easily recognised by the white dotted black stripes along its back.

They can grow to over 35cm and can be found in all eastern states as well as South Australia.

This photo was taken in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.

Blue Tongued Lizards. There are about six members of the Tiliqua genus - depending on which reference you use.

Shingleback image pb020135 194KB

They are the largest lizard in the Skink family. The members are -

Adelaide Pygmy Blue-tongue (Tiliqua adelaidensis)
Centralian Blue-tongue (Tiliqua multifasciata)
Blotched Blue-tongue (Tiliqua nigrolutea)
Western Blue-tongue (Tiliqua occipitalis)
Common Blue-tongue (Tiliqua scincoides)
Shingleback Lizard (Tiliqua rugosa)

The Shingleback or Stumpy-tail (Tiliqua rugosa) can be found in all southern states except Tasmania.

Shingleback image pb020093 201KB

They grow to about 35cm and are viviparous. It is sometimes referred to as Trachydosaurus rugosus.

The Shingleback is also known as the Two-headed Lizard as it can lead a predator into believing that its tail is actually its head, and if threatened, can lose its tail and escape. It can regenerate its tail.

Shingleback image pa210069 201KB

The Shingleback in Western Australia is a browner colour and can have a different coloured head to the rest of its body.

The first two Shingleback photos were taken in the Mungo National Park in NSW; the third was taken near Lake Grace in Western Australia.

The Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard (Tiliqua nigrolutea) is easily recognised by its orange and/or ochre blotches.

Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard image pb010010 142KB Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard image pb010025 127KB

It has a similar shape to the Shingleback, except it has a more standard tail that accounts for about a third of its overall length, and its scales are smoother.

It is also known as the Southern Blue-tongued Lizard as it is found in the south-eastern part of Australia. It's viviparous.

Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard image pb200006 157KB

As shown in these images, their colours vary.

Note the ticks behind the front legs of the lizard from Bibbenluke - the lizard can't reach this part of its body.

These photos were taken in Leura in the Blue Mountains (left), and near Bibbenluke in south-eastern NSW (bottom right).

The Common or Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) is arguably the best known blue-tongue. This is most probably due to it being "common", and the only one found, in the greater Sydney area.

Common  Blue-tongued Lizard image pb260147 190KB

It can grow to 60cm in length and weigh a kilogram.

Like the other members of the genus, it will hiss and stick out its blue tongue when cornered.

It can be found in all states except Tasmania. In Western Australia it is only found in the far north.

This photo was taken in Cheltenham in Sydney. - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.