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Acontias percivali.jpeg
Acontias percivali
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia (paraphyletic)
(unranked): Sauria
Order: Squamata (paraphyletic)
Suborder: Lacertilia
Infraorder: Scincomorpha
Family: Scincidae
Subfamily: Acontinae
Genus: Acontias
Cuvier, 1817

See text.

For other uses, see Acontias (disambiguation).

Acontias, the lance skinks, is a genus of limbless skinks (family Scincidae) in the African subfamily Acontinae.[1] Most are small animals, but the largest member of the genus is Acontias plumbeus at approximately 40 cm (16 in) snout-vent length.[1] All members of this genus are live-bearing, sandswimmers, with fused eyelids. A recent review [2] moved species that were formerly placed in the genera Typhlosaurus, Acontophiops, and Microacontias into this genus, as together these form a single branch in the tree of life. This new concept of Acontias is a sister lineage to Typhlosaurus, and these two genera are the only genera within the subfamily Acontinae.[2]


The following 21 species are recognized.[3]

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Acontias.



  1. ^ a b Branch 2004.
  2. ^ a b Lamb, Trip; Sayantan Biswas; Aaron M. Bauer (2010). "A phylogenetic reassessment of African fossorial skinks in the subfamily Acontinae (Squamata: Scincidae): evidence for parallelism and polyphyly". Zootaxa 2657: 33–46. 
  3. ^ The Reptile Database.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA. 1887. Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume III. ... Scincidæ ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 575 pp. + Plates I-XXVII. (Genus Acontias, p. 424).
  • Branch, Bill. 2004. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Third Revised Edition. Second impression. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 399 pp. ISBN 0-88359-042-5. (Genus Acontias, p. 132).
  • Cuvier G. 1817. Le règne animale distribué d'après son organisation, pour servir de base a l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction a l'anatomie comparée. Tome II, contenant les reptiles, les poissons, les mollusques et les annélides. Paris: Déterville. xviii + 532 pp. (Acontias, new subgenus, p. 60). (in French).