T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Skink (Common) Oligosoma polychroma

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Oligosoma
Species: O. polychroma
Binomial name: Oligosoma polychroma
Synonyms: Leiolopisma nigriplanatre polychroma Oligosoma nigriplantare polychrome, Oligosoma polychrome, Oligosoma aff. polychroma
Common name: Common skink, Southern grass skink, Common New Zealand skink

Oligosoma polychroma is a non threatened species of skink native to New Zealand. They are widespread throughout the South Island and the Wellington and Hawkes Bay regions in the North Island. They are also present on Stewart Island. They are often abundant in coastal locations. They have distinctive stripes and are often a dark or black colour. In other places, they are brown with irregular stripes. Their iris is a straw colour. The females are slightly larger than males.
They live under rocks and logs etc in open areas with low vegetation up to 1700m. They prefer sunny habitats in grasslands, scrublands and vineyards rather than forests. They are often seen basking. To minimise the risk of predation by exposing only small parts of their body at one time and still remaining well hidden.
They feed on invertebrates such as insects, spiders. They also feed on berries and the nectar of divaricating shrubs where they can move easily among the tangled branches protected from birds.
A female Oligosoma polychroma reaches sexual maturity when it is about four years old and gives live birth up to 6 young from January to February.
Like other skinks when attacked they can shed their tail which wriggles about attracting the attention of the predator while an escape is attempted. The stump heals and regrows.
Like all New Zealand’s skinks, they are fully protected, meaning that they may only be handled, collected or kept in captivity under permit. Predation of these skinks occurs by mustelids (ferrets, weasels, stoats) rats and cats.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/