Blue-tongued skink

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blue tongue lizard redirects here.

Blue-tongued skinks
Tiliqua scincoides showing its blue tongue
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Subfamily: Egerniinae
Genus: Tiliqua
Gray, 1825[1]

8, see text.



Blue-tongued skinks make up the Australasian genus, Tiliqua, which has some of the largest members of the skink family (Scincidae). They are also called blue-tongued lizards or simply blue-tongues, shinglebacks or the sleepy lizard in Australia.[2] The main feature of the genus is a large blue tongue that can be used to scare away enemies.

Distribution[change | change source]

Blue-tongued skinks are closely related to the genera Cyclodomorphus and Hemisphaeriodon. All species are found on mainland Australia except Tiliqua gigas which lives in New Guinea and various islands of Indonesia. One subspecies of Tiliqua scincoides is also found on several small Indonesian islands between Australia and New Guinea. Tiliqua nigrolutea is the only species in Tasmania. With the exception of the pygmy blue-tongue, they are large lizards which can grow up to 45 cm total length. They are light-bodied, short-limbed, broad with a distinct head and dull teeth.

Ecology[change | change source]

Most species are diurnal ground-foraging omnivores, feeding on insects, gastropods, flowers, fruits and berries.[3] The pygmy blue-tongue however mainly eats arthropods. The skinks give birth to live young. The litter sizes ranging from 1–4 in the pygmy blue-tongue and shingleback to 5–24 in the eastern and northern blue-tongues.[4]

Species and subspecies[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Gray, J.E. (1825). A synopsis of the genera of reptiles and Amphibia, with a description of some new species. Annals of Philosophy 10:193—217. p. 201
  2. Torr, Geordie (July 1999). "True Blue". Australian Geographic. 55: 55–67.
  3. Cogger, H. G. (2000). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed New Holland. ISBN 978-0801427398.
  4. Turner, Grant (2001). Keeping Bluetongue Lizards. Australian Reptile Keeper Publications. ISBN 978-0-9586050-6-9.

References[change | change source]

  • Austin, J.J. & Arnold, E.N. (2006): Using ancient and recent DNA to explore relationships of extinct and endangered Leiolopisma skinks (Reptilia: Scincidae) in the Mascarene islands. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39(2): 503–511. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.12.011 (HTML abstract)
  • Bull, C.M. (1988): Mate fidelity in an Australian lizard Trachydosaurus rugosus (Scincidae). Copeia 1987(3): 749-757.
  • Bull, C.M. (1990): Comparison of displaced and retained partners in a monogamous lizard Tiliqua rugosa. Australian Wildlife Research 17: 135-140.
  • Valentic, R.A. (1996): A prey record of the Eastern Blue-tongue Tiliqua scincoides for the common brown snake Pseudonaja textilis. Monitor Archived 2009-10-02 at the Wayback Machine 8(3): 155.

Other websites[change | change source]