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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Bar-lipped Sheen Skink

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4



Species : Eugongylus rufescens
Size (snout to vent) : up to 14.3 cm
Size (total length) : up to 38.3 cm

The Bar-lipped Sheen Skink, or Brown Sheen Skink, is a large, terrestrial skink which inhabits forest but is more commonly seen in disturbed habitats at the forest edge.

It appears to be nocturnal in habits, and is thus typically seen at dusk when it starts to become active.

Its body is robust and muscular, and measures around 14 cm from snout to vent. Its tail is long, thick and equally muscular and measures over 1.5 times head-body length. It moves in a sinuous, snake-like motion when fleeing disturbance.

Its body is medium to dark brown with faint, thin, regular transverse banding. The scales are smooth, and iridescent under bright light.  The upper and lower lips are adorned with a series of vertical dark bands.

This species is known to feed upon smaller lizards, including other skinks, as well as large insects, such as crickets, and other invertebrates.

In Southeast Asia Eugongylus rufescens occurs in parts of eastern Indonesia including the mollucan islands of Seram and Ambon, and the Aru Islands. Further east it occurs in many parts of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Queensland, Australia.

Fig 1 : Example from Papua New Guinea, found at an elevation of around 900 metres.  It exhibits the typical pattern of narrow, pale bars on its flanks.

Fig 2 : Close-up of the head showing the dark bars on the upper and lower lips. Note the large ear opening.

Fig 3 : Full view. Note the sinuous, muscular body and tail.

Fig 4 : Active amongst dead vegetation.

References :

de Rooij, N., 1915. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago, I Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. E.J. Brill Ltd. Leiden. xiv + 382 pp.