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Of the 28 currently recognized species of skink in the genus Tropidophorus, four are recognized to occur in the Philippines (T. davaoensis, T. grayi, T. misaminius, and T. partelloi). Commonly referred to as Water or Keeled Skinks, this enigmatic radiation of Southeast Asian lizards consists of species that prefer habitat in and around stream and river systems.
In the Philippines, all four species are commonly observed underneath leaf litter, rocks, and collected piles of debris on the banks and in the middle of stream systems. Their unique morphologies make them easily identifiable in comparison to all other genera of Philippine lizards. Although variation in morphological characters has been documented between populations in the Philippines (Taylor, 1922), Brown and Alcala (1980) were the last to categorize and describe the country's diversity, recognizing only four species. The widespread species, T. grayi, exhibits large differences in adult body sizes between island populations, and likely includes multiple, unique evolutionary lineages in need of recognition.