Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink

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Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Tiliqua
Species: T. adelaidensis
Binomial name
Tiliqua adelaidensis
(Peters, 1863)

The Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink or pygmy bluetongue (Tiliqua adelaidensis) is a species of skink in the Scincidae family. It was previously thought to be extinct and only rediscovered in 1992.

Rediscovery and conservation[edit]

Found only in the Mid North of South Australia, it was for a time believed to be extinct. It was rediscovered in 1992, when a researcher found the remains of an adult male lizard in the stomach contents of a dead brown snake, near Burra.[2] The species is now considered to be endangered.

The habitat and range of pygmy bluetongues is very restricted, as individuals live in old spider burrows within areas of unploughed native grasslands, which have become rare due to extensive development of cereal cropping throughout the region. Since their rediscovery, surveys have estimated that 5,000 to 7,000 individuals live in scattered areas between Kapunda and Peterborough.[3][4]

Conservation efforts to maintain the species include the establishment of the Tiliqua Pygmy Bluetongue Reserve near Burra, by the Nature Foundation SA in 2010.[2][5]

In February 2016 Zoos SA announced the first success of a captive breeding program of pygmy bluetongues at Monarto Zoo.[3]


When artificial burrows were offered in the field to lizards, all lizards preferred vertical rather than angled burrows and juvenile lizards preferred more shallow burrows than did adult lizards.[6] Observation of 36 artificial burrows showed a significant increase in lizard numbers during 2001–2002 and over three surveys. The study suggests that this local increase in population could be due to lizards locating appropriate burrows much easier. The study results suggest that artificial burrows could be a tool for conservation management of this species.[7]

Another study[8] compared the fitness of female lizards in natural burrows and artificial ones, over a three-year period. The study showed that the female in the artificial burrows had a better body condition who produced a larger offspring with a better body condition also.[8]


  1. ^ Australasian Reptile & Amphibian Specialist Group (1996). "Tiliqua adelaidensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 1996: e.T21902A9338124. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.1996.RLTS.T21902A9338124.en. 
  2. ^ a b Pygmy bluetongue lizard rediscovered in Mid-North South Australia, The Advertiser, 3 November 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b Pygmy blue-tongue lizards, once thought extinct, bred in SA's Monarto Zoo, ABC News, 24 February 2016, Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  4. ^ Conservationists hope to breed threatened pygmy blue-tongue lizard in captivity in SA ABC News, 4 October 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. ^ Tiliqua A Pygmy Bluetongue Reserve Nature Foundation SA. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  6. ^ Milne, T.; Bull, C.M. (2000). "Burrow choice by individuals of different sizes in the endangered pygmy blue tongue lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis". Biological Conservation. 95 (3): 295–301. doi:10.1016/s0006-3207(00)00040-9. 
  7. ^ Souter, N.J.; Bull, C.M.; Hutchinson, M.N. (2004). "Adding burrows to enhance a population of the endangered pygmy blue tongue lizard, Tiliqua adelaidensis". Biological Conservation. 116 (3): 403–408. doi:10.1016/s0006-3207(03)00232-5. 
  8. ^ a b Milne, T.; Bull , C. Michael; Hutchinson, M. (2003). "Fitness of the endangered pygmy blue tongue lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis in artificial burrows". Journal of Herpetology. 37 (4): 762–765. doi:10.1670/38-03N. JSTOR 1565885. 

Further reading[edit]