Saturday 25 May
Tessellated skink (Trachylepis tessellata)
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Tessellated skink fact file
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Tessellated skink description
The tessellated skink (Trachylepis tessellata) is a rather poorly-known lizard endemic to the southern Arabian Peninsula (2) (3) (4). Like other skinks (Scincidae species), the tessellated skink has a roughly cylindrical body (5) which is covered in smooth, overlapping scales, underlain with bony plates (3) (5) (6). The tail is longer than the body and, as in other Trachylepis species, the limbs are well developed (6).
Very little information is available on the appearance of the tessellated skink, but it is reported to be highly variable in colouration (2). It is similar in size to the ocellated skink (Chalcides ocellatus), but has more well-developed legs and lacks the ocellated skink’s ‘eye spot’ patterning (3).
- Mabuya tessellata. Top
The Reptile Database:
International Reptile Conservation Foundation:
The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi:
WWF: Major environmental threats in the UAE:
- A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Mountain canyons found in North Africa and the Middle East that only carry water when it rains.
IUCN Red List (February, 2013)
- Fritz, J.P. and Schütte, F. (1988) Skinke aus der Arabischen Republik Jemen. Salamandra, 24(1): 41-52.
- Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
- van der Kooij, J. (2001) The herpetofauna of the Sultanate of Oman. Part 3: the true lizards, skinks and monitor lizard. Podarcis, 2(1): 15-26.
- Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Ananjeva, N.B., Orlov, N.L., Khalikov, R.G., Darevsky, I.S., Ryabov, S.A. and Barabanov, A.V. (2006) The Reptiles of Northern Eurasia. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, Bulgaria.
WWF: Major environmental threats in the UAE (February, 2012)
The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (February, 2012)
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Tessellated skink biology
Very little is currently known about the biology of the tessellated skink. Like other skinks, it is likely to be active during the day and to be an active forager that hunts for a variety of arthropod prey (5). Most skinks are terrestrial (6), and use a range of chemical and visual cues to communicate (5).Top
Tessellated skink rangeTop
Tessellated skink habitatTop
Tessellated skink status
The tessellated skink is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Tessellated skink threats
The tessellated skink is not currently known to be facing any major threats. However, in some areas its populations are reported to have declined (2).
In countries such as the United Arab Emirates, rapid development and urbanisation are having negative effects on native ecosystems (7), and this could potentially impact populations of the tessellated skink.Top
Tessellated skink conservation
There are no known conservation measures currently targeted at the tessellated skink, and very little is currently known about this small reptile.
However, efforts underway to conserve the natural environments of the region may indirectly benefit this species. For example, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is working in the United Arab Emirates to protect the country’s rich biodiversity (8).Top
Find out more
Find out more about the tessellated skink and about reptile conservation:
More information on conservation in the United Arab Emirates:
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:
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