Acontias percivali

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Acontias percivali
Acontias percivali.jpeg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Acontias
Species: A. percivali
Binomial name
Acontias percivali
Loveridge, 1935
Acontias percivali distribution (colored).png

Acontias percivali, also known as Percival's legless lizard, Tanzanian legless lizard, and Percival's lance skink, is a small, legless (snake-like) species of lizard in the family Scincidae, collectively known as "skinks".


The specific name, percivali, is in honor of British naturalist Arthur Blayney Percival (1874–1940), who was a game warden in East Africa.[1]

Geographic range[edit]

The geographic range of A. percivali is limited to continental Africa and includes regions of Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.[2]


Percival's lance skink inhabits savannas by burrowing just below the surface of the soil.


The three subspecies of A. percivali are:

A. p. occidentalis has been considered a full species by Lamb et al. (2010) and by Wagner et al. (2012).[3]

A. p. tasmani may be a subspecies of Acontias meleagris as seen after DNA sequencing tests.[citation needed]


Percival's lance skink can be identified by its copper-brown back and gold underside. It is an insectivores that specializes in feeding on beetle larvae, earthworms, and other slow-moving invertebrates.


A. percivali is ovoviviparous and has one to five young at a time.

As pets[edit]

Although this animal is poorly understood, it is occasionally seen in pet shops. Most Acontias specimens in the pet trade are wild-collected. In captivity, they require a deep layer of sandy substrate and hollow hiding places on the surface. Captive breeding may be possible, but currently has not been accomplished commercially.


  1. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Acontias percivali, pp. 202-203).
  2. ^ "Acontias percivali ". The Reptile Database.
  3. ^ "Acontias occidentalis ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database-org.

Further reading[edit]

  • Branch WR (1991). "Life History Note: Acontias percivali tasmani: Size and Predation". J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (39): 23-23.
  • 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. (Acontias percivali, pp. 134-135 + Plate 44).
  • Loveridge A (1935). "Scientific Results of an Expedition to Rain Forest Regions in Eastern Africa. I. New Reptiles and Amphibians from East Africa". Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 79 (1): 1-19. (Acontias percivali, new species, pp. 13-15).

External links[edit]