Scree skink (Oligosoma waimatense)

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Scree skink on rock
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Scree skink fact file

Scree skink description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyScincidae
GenusOligosoma (1)

Like other skinks, the scree skink has an elongate body covered in smooth, glossy scales, a narrow head and small eyes (3) (4). The scales are greyish-white, with black blotches forming bands across the body. The grey, or orange-pink, belly tends to be unmarked, but the chin and throat are sometimes speckled with black (2).

Size
Snout-vent length: 95 mm (2)
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Scree skink biology

The scree skink is diurnal and heavily reliant on the sun for raising its body temperature. Accordingly, it is often seen basking on exposed rocks in clear view. Like other New Zealand skinks, it is an omnivorous species, with berries, invertebrates and even other skinks known to feature in its diet (2) (4).

The scree skink gives birth to fully-formed young, which are similar in appearance to the adults (2) (4).

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Scree skink range

The scree skink is endemic to the South Island of New Zealand where it occurs in a band running along the Southern Alps from Marlborough to northern Otago (2).

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Scree skink habitat

Almost all the known populations of scree skink are found amongst, or near, unstable greywacke screes (2) (5).

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Scree skink status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Scree skink threats

The primary threats to New Zealand skinks are habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals such as cats, ferrets, stoats, weasels, hedgehogs, rats and mice (4). The scree skink population is thought to gradually declining and consequently is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List (1) (6).

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Scree skink conservation

There are currently no known conservation measures in place for the scree skink.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

To find out more about New Zealand’s reptiles see:

  • New Zealand Herpetological Society

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Greywacke
A poorly sorted sedimentary rock composed of quartz, feldspar, clay and other minerals.
Omnivorous
Feeding on both plants and animals.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2008)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Patterson, G.B. (1997) South Island skinks of the genus Oligosoma: description of O. longipes n.sp. with redescription of O. otagense (McCann) and O. waimatense (McCann). Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 27: 439 - 450.
  3. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Department of Conservation. (2006) Skinks and Geckos Factsheet. Department of Conservation, Christchurch. Available at:
    http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/about-doc/concessions-and-permits/conservation-revealed/skinks-geckos-lowres.pdf
  5. Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand (February, 2008)
    http://www.teara.govt.nz/TheBush/FishFrogsAndReptiles/Lizards/3/en
  6. Hitchmough, R., Bull, L. and Cromarty, P. (2007) New Zealand threat classification system lists 2005. New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington.
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Image credit

Scree skink on rock  
Scree skink on rock

© Paddy Ryan

Paddy Ryan
Ryan Photographic
2802 East 132nd Circle
Thornton
CO
80241
USA
Tel: +01 (303) 457 9795
paddyaryan@aol.com
http://www.ryanphotographic.com/

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