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


Skink (Ornate) Oligosoma ornatum

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Oligosoma
Species: Oligosoma ornatum
Synonyms: O. pseudornatum, Cyclodina ornate
Common name: Ornate skink,

Oligosoma ornatum is a rare species skink that is native to New Zealand. Habitat destruction and predation by introduced species have now reduced their range to scattered localities throughout the North Island as far south as Wellington, as well as on the Three Kings Islands, Great Barrier Island, and a few other offshore islands. 

Oligosoma ornatum is a secretive, robust, medium size skink with snout-vent-length >83 mm and have a short thick tail. It has a deep-set head and short, blunt snout. The upper surface (dorsal) is a light tan through to a very dark brown/almost black. Individuals usually have a dark 'wavy' edged stripe extending from the nostril to above the eye, and along the edge of the dorsum/flanks, often breaking up midway between the fore and hind limbs. Large pale blotches are seen along the top and sides of the tail, which often extends onto the back. In some individuals, the tail may be flushed with red/orange.  The lowers surface (ventral) is yellowish, either unspotted, partially or wholly spotted with black; some individuals have vivid reddish orange colouration. Head sports a ‘tear-drop’ below each eye (white or yellowish edged with black). The toes of the ornate skinks are relatively short compared to other skinks. 
They are insectivorous (feeding on insects) and frugivorous (feeding on fruit). They are nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).
Oligosoma ornatum is ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young in January/February. It appears they may be able to have up to 8 offspring in a single clutch.



The photo shows the distinctive ‘tear-drop’ below each eye. It can be white or yellowish edged with black.

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