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


Skink (Spotted) Oligosoma lineoocellatum

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Oligosoma
Species: O. lineoocellatum
Binomial name: Oligosoma lineoocellatum
Synonym: Oligosoma festivum, Leiolopisma festivum, Lygosoma lineo-ocellatum, Leiolopisma lineo-ocellata, Lygosoma lineo-ocellatum, Leiolopisma lineo-ocellata, Leiolopisma formosa,
Leiolopisma grande grande, Leiolopisma lineoocellatum, Scincella formosa
Common name: Spotted skink, green-backed skink, Canterbury spotted skink

Oligosoma lineoocellatum its one of New Zealand largest native skinks growing to about 20 cm in length. It is very shy and wary. It is nationally at-risk species due to the predation by cats, rats and mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels).
They currently found in Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury in the South Island and from about 10 sites on the mainland North Island from Napier, the Wairarapa and Wellington areas. They are also found on Stewart Island, islands in the Marlborough Sounds, Somes Island, Ward Island, North Brother Island, Stephens Island and Takapourewa. In 2016 they were released into the protected natural reserve Zealandia in Wellington. Their habits are open grassy areas, shrubland dunes, boulder beaches, rocky coasts, flax lands, vinelands, tussock grassland; coastal to alpine areas.

Description: A large skink (80-90 mm SVL, up to 111 mm, total length up to 192 mm; Hardy 1977, Robb 1980, Jewell 2008). Dorsal surface light to dark brown, olive-green or deep green, often with an iridescent sheen. White or green ocelli-like spots edged with black scattered along the back. A yellow or golden dorsolateral stripe may be present. Lateral surfaces with upper black or brown band with paler flecks or spots sometimes edged with thin, pale notched or broken stripe. Lower lateral surface pale grey, or grey-brown with some specking. Limbs brown with white spots. Ventral surfaces uniform, usually grey, bright pink or red, with tinge often extending to latero-ventral sides. Throat light grey with chin flecked or streaked in black (Hardy 1977, Jewell 2008).

The skink in this photo was approximately 150mm from nose to tail, dark green with tan stripes on the back with a pink belly. It was living in eroded rubble within tussock and shrub in the hills inland from Ashburton, South Island.

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