Centralian blue-tongued skink

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Centralian blue-tongued skink
Tiliqua multifasciata.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Tiliqua
Species:
T. multifasciata
Binomial name
Tiliqua multifasciata
Sternfeld, 1919

The Centralian blue-tongued skink or Centralian blue-tongue (Tiliqua multifasciata) is a species of skink,[1] occurring predominantly in the far north-west corner of New South Wales, Australia.[2] It is one of six species belonging to the genus Tiliqua; the blue-tongued skinks and the shinglebacks.

Description[edit]

The Centralian blue-tongue is of a very robust build, short body and slender tail, and is among the largest 1% of species in the Scincidae family.[3] Both the forelimb and hindlimb have five digits.[2]

Colouring[edit]

The skink is predominately pale brown to grey in colour with a series of nine or more orange-brown bands along the length of the body and tail. These darker coloured bands are much wider than the paler grey-brown interspaces but are at their narrowest along the mid-dorsal region of the skink.[4] There is a distinguishing black stripe surrounding the eye and extending to just above the ear, and upper-hind areas of limbs are also black.[2][4][5] The skink is pale cream to white on the underside.[2][4]

Distribution[edit]

The geographical distribution of the blue-tongued skink lies throughout the far north-west corner of New South Wales and South Australia, and centrally throughout Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.[4][5] In general, habitats include a variety of arid and semi-arid stony and red sandy spinifex vegetated areas.[5]

Behaviour[edit]

Like many other reptilian species, the blue-tongued is a fairly sedentary terrestrial creature.[6] It is a ground-dwelling, diurnal species[4] and displacements are relatively short (less than 20 metres) and on average the total distance travelled each day can fall between 122 and 245 metres.[6]

Diet[edit]

Analyses of stomach contents have shown that the blue-tongue feeds on a combination of seeds, insects, livestock dung and some vertebrate and invertebrate material such as that of bird or other reptilian remains (i.e. fragments of bone, loose feathers).[3]

Reproduction[edit]

Along with the other five species of the same genus, the Centralian blue-tongued skink is a viviparous species - it bears between two and 10 live young in a single litter.[2][4][5]

Threats[edit]

The geographical location of the skink sees one of its' major threats to be ingestion of the invasive and toxic cane toad,[7] but it is also under pressures from other anthropogenic processes such as fire and habitat fragmentation.[6] The species is currently listed as vulnerable.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tiliqua multifasciata at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 20 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Swan, Gerry (1990). A Field Guide to the Snakes and Lizards of New South Wales. Winmalee: Three Sisters Productions Pty Ltd. p. 146. ISBN 095902039X.
  3. ^ a b Shea, Glenn M (2006). "Diet of two species of bluetongue skink, Tiliqua multifasciata and Tiliqua occipitalis (Squamata: Scincidae)". Australian Zoologist. 33 (3): 359–364 – via Free E-Journals.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Cogger, Harold G. (2000). Reptiles and amphibians of Australia (6th ed.). Sydney: Reed New Holland. ISBN 1876334339. OCLC 43580360.
  5. ^ a b c d Wilson, Steve; Swan, Gerry (2003). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Sydney: Reed New Holland. p. 294. ISBN 187633472X.
  6. ^ a b c Price-Rees, Samantha J.; Brown, Gregory P.; Shine, Richard (2014). "Activity Patterns and Movements of Free-Ranging Bluetongue Lizards (Tiliqua scincoides intermediaandTiliqua multifasciata) in the Australian Wet-Dry Tropics". Journal of Herpetology. 48 (3): 298–305. doi:10.1670/12-256. ISSN 0022-1511.
  7. ^ Price-Rees, Samantha J.; Brown, Gregory P.; Shine, Richard (2010-05-07). "Predation on toxic cane toads (Bufo marinus) may imperil bluetongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia, Scincidae) in tropical Australia". Wildlife Research. 37 (2): 166–173. doi:10.1071/WR09170. ISSN 1448-5494.