Overview

Distribution

Geographic Range

Native to Australia, found also in New Guinea, and Tasmania. The blue-tongued skink originates from Australia, inhabits semi-desert, mixed woodlands, and scrubland habitats (Kaplan, 1996).

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Continent: Australia
Distribution: Australia (New South Wales, North Territory, Queensland, SE South Australia, Victoria, NW West Australia)  scincoides: S/E Australia intermedia: N Australia chimaerea: Indonesia (Maluku Province: Tanimbar, Babar Islands)  
Type locality: Australia [Lacerta scincoides, Scincus tuberculatus]
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The Eastern Blue-Tongued Skink is characterized by its long blue tongue which is used in defensive displays (Cogger and Zweifel, 1998). The skin is relatively smooth, covered by overlapping scales with a fish-like appearance. Coloration of the body is that of a grayish ventral side, and the head being a pale brown with the dorsal side (back) having alternating streaks or blotches of dark brown and cream. Juveniles, however, can possess a wider variety of coloration which helps them in becoming cryptic. This coloration will be lost as the juvenile reaches maturity. The general body plan is considered to be robust and cylindrical with relatively short legs. The massive tongue is supported by the hyoid skeleton, this is true for all members in the Order Squamata. The tip of the tongue is supported by one rod of the hyoid skeleton, the lingual process (Cogger and Zweifel, 1998). Movement of the Eastern-Blue Tongued Skink is a waddle motion, because of the short legs that the animal possesses (Obst, 1998).

Average length: 33 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

Average mass: 493 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 0.2127 W.

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Type Information

Paratype for Tiliqua scincoides intermedia
Catalog Number: USNM 128639
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia
  • Paratype: Mitchell, F. J. 1955. Records of the South Australian Museum. 11 (4): 393.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Tiliqua scincoides intermedia
Catalog Number: USNM 128637
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia
  • Paratype: Mitchell, F. J. 1955. Records of the South Australian Museum. 11 (4): 393.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Tiliqua scincoides intermedia
Catalog Number: USNM 128636
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia
  • Paratype: Mitchell, F. J. 1955. Records of the South Australian Museum. 11 (4): 393.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paratype for Tiliqua scincoides intermedia
Catalog Number: USNM 128478
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: ; Adult
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Port Langdon, Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, Australia
  • Paratype: Mitchell, F. J. 1955. Records of the South Australian Museum. 11 (4): 393.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat: The blue-tongued skink inhabits semi-desert, mixed woodland, and scrubland areas of Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania.

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; scrub forest

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The Blue-Tongued Skink is omnivorous and will survive on a variety of foods. They feed on a variety of small creatures such as insects, other reptiles, as well as some plant material and fruits. Captive studies show that one of the best food sources is high quality dog food, which contains added vitamins and minerals, also they adapt well to vegetables such as collard greens, turnips, and dandelions. Blue-Tongued Skinks feed during the day and are termed diurnal (Houseoftropics 1999).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Sex: female

Status: captivity:
9.0 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
14.3 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 26.6 years (captivity)
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Reproduction

The Blue-Tongued Skink is ovoviviparous, which means the offspring develop in eggs which are not laid and stay in the mothers body for further development. The female then will lay live young. Eggs are therefore not taken by predators and survivorship would increase because all the young are born. The clutch of the Blue-Tongued Skink ranges about 10-15 young hatched at one cycle of reproduction.

Average birth mass: 14 g.

Average number of offspring: 10.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Tiliqua scincoides chimaerea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Australia prohibits commercial export of most wildlife (including lizards), and the pet trade stock would necessarily need to be captive-bred.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Status Unknown.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Skinks make good pets because of the fact that they are docile, easily tamable and relatively easy to take care of (Kaplan, 1996).

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