Skink ID

Discussion in 'Reptile and Amphibian Identification' started by SpottedPythons, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. SpottedPythons

    SpottedPythons Well-Known Member

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    So I caught this skink, wandering around in the house yesterday. It looks kinda like a garden skink, but it has an extraordinarily long tail. The tail has faint, black stripes running down the sides, but other than that there is no obvious patterning or striping. It colouration is a silvery bronze, with the red coming out a bit more on the tail than the body. It might be arboreal, as it's long tail appears to be at least partially if not fully prehensile. When I caught it ran up my fingers and regularly wrapped it's tail around my finger to steady itself. I'm keeping it in one of my small skink setups, and I have given it a wire frame to climb on, which it has used often, always securing itself with that long tail like a fifth limb. Anyone know what it is?

    Image 1:



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2017
  2. Foozil

    Foozil Well-Known Member

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    Weasel skinks
    because of the very long tail, white eye "patch", and the two coppery bands at the base of the tail
     
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  3. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    I agree that it is a Weasel Skink (Saproscincus mustelinus). The the white spot behind the eye seems somewhat obscured compared to fhe norm. One can also just pick up the pale spot at the base of the hindlimb and transparent eyelid characteristic of the genus.
     
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  4. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Just from the photos it's easily identified as S. mustelinus. Doing well if you can see the transparent disc on the lower eyelid in any of these pic Bluetongue. Common as around Galston. Often found in leaf litter or under ground cover. They are not arboreal.
     
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  5. SpottedPythons

    SpottedPythons Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys for you help. :) This one's an oddball, clambering around and climbing everything. That tail does really come in useful for holding, as seen above... wonder what he was doing in my hallway?
     
  6. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    George, in the second image copied as a bitmap and under 500% magnification, it can be seen as a pale area under the edge of the lower eyelid. Try it and see for yourself. I was trying to determine why the white spot behind the eye was much less pronounced than usual when I noticed it.

    That one can pick up details at that magnification is more testimony to the high quality of the photo rather than anything else. Well done @SpottedPythons.
     
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  7. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Yeah Mike thanks for that. I just magnified it to 700% with Microsoft Office Picture Manager and can see the eyelid but despite the quality of the magnification it's not clear enough in the photo to show that it's transparent at 500% or 700%. Didn't need the white stripe behind the eye to confirm positive ID. I know that a couple of authors mention the white strip/spot as a means to ID them but I've caught plenty over the years all over the Sydney, Central Coast and South Coast areas where the white stripe wasn't that prominent and in some cases not present at all.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
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  8. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    upload_2017-11-3_12-30-43.png
    It does not really matter whether the transparent eyelid is distinguishable or not, as this info was not for ID’ing the species, which Foozil had covered well, but just a bit extra on the genus for those who might be interested.

    With respect to the white (or cream) patch behind the eye, yes it does vary in size and shape. Regards your assertion that “a couple of authors” mention it, I have yet to come across one who has not included it as a diagnostic feature of this species. Wilson and Swan even have in bold type.
     
  9. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    ^^^Good on ya. Pedantic comment relating to what I said about a "couple of authors" but then again I've come to expect such trivia. I was pointing out that despite what authors, including Steve and Gerry, describe as a "diagnostic feature" the white spot or stripe is NOT always conspicuous OR present. I know them both personally and like most authors who publish similar books I'm also aware that most if not all have very little field experience with a lot of the species they provide ID's for and basically duplicate information from previous publications. Seems to me to be a common trait with some who post in ID threads on this forum. Can I ask what your field experience with this species is?
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  10. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    @GBWhite. I optimistically thought we might be done here, hence my tardy reply.
    Knowing Steve Wilson personally you’d be aware that he has been employed by the Qld Museum as an Information Officer since 1986, with part of his contract duties being to go through the existing reptile collection of 45,000 specimens and ensure they have been correctly identified - a task he completed only a few years back. While I have no knowledge of his field experience with Weasel Skinks, his re-cataloguing duties would doubtless have exposed him to a significant number of specimens of this common species.

    There is a simple and sound reason why this occurs - but it is not the one you have suggested. If an existing species description is considered to be correct and adequate, why would you want to change it? The fact that many species descriptions remain the same in subsequent publications does NOT mean they have been mindlessly copied from one publication to the next. What it does mean is that when the description was scrutinised and evaluated`, it was judged to be fine just as is.

    The acknowledgements page of Wilson & Swan provides a bit of an insight into what takes place in authoring a field guide – definitely worth a read.

    Instead of being argumentative and casting aspersions on others of renown in the process, simply to give me a hard time, why not put that energy to constructive use? Use the fact that you know the authors personally to give them the information you are voicing here, with added details of locations and frequency etc. plus any photos you may have. If your field experiences represent a significant occurrence, then the species should be earmarked for further investigation utilising the information you have provided.

    Cheers,
    Mike
     
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  11. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I just enjoying giving you a hard time...
     
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