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Emerald Skink

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3


Species : Lamprolepis smaragdina
Size (snout to vent) : 10 cm
Size (total length) : 25 cm

The beautiful Emerald Skink is an arboreal lizard of lightly wooded or thickly forested lowlands.

Its colouration may vary greatly within populations, and in different geographic areas. The most stunning specimens are a vibrant green colour throughout, with a slightly paler belly. Others may be bluish or brown, sometimes spotted with pale or dark spots, and sometimes with a pale band along each flank.

In Timor-Leste, Kaiser et al (2011) documented the presence of Lamprolepis skinks which are  green in the front part of the body, and brown at the rear, with dark dorsal spots and dark lateral striping : these varicoloured specimens exist alongside others which are fully brown with lightly speckles. Such colour variations were seen in both sexes.

The body is moderately robust, and the snout is long and pointed. Small ear openings are visible mid-way between the snout and the forelimb.

Adults reach around 10 cm snout-to-vent, with a tail which measures around 1.5 times body length, but in some specimens may be considerably longer.

This skink appears to be fully arboreal in habits, and individuals appear to have a preferred tree where they may be seen day after day. They are typically active at least 5 metres from the ground, on large tree trunks. Their eggs, measuring 10 mm, are laid under loose bark.

Four subspecies are generally recognised.

This wide-ranging species occurs in eastern Indonesia, ranging from Lombok and Sulawesi in the west to New Guinea in the east. Its western extent is thus marked by the Wallace Line. It also occurs in the Philippines and Taiwan.

In the western Pacific Ocean it occurs in the Solomon Islands, Admiralty Islands and Marshall Islands.

Figs 1 to 3 : Three images of a specimen found late morning at an elevation of 500 metres on the northern slope of Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia. The island of Lombok marks the western extent of the range of this widespread species. The specimen appeared to be fully grown, measuring an estimated 10 cm snout-to-vent, with a tail of around 16 cm. It was spotted some metres from the ground on a large tree on a lightly wooded, steep slope. Once disturbed, it retreated higher into a  tangle of foliage.

References :

de Rooij N. 1915. The reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. I. Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill Ltd. 384 pp

Kaiser H., Lopes Carvalho V., Ceballos J., Freed P., Heacox S., Lester B., Richards S. J., Trainor C. R., Sanchez C., O担hea M. 2011. The herpetofauna of Timor-Leste: A first report. ZooKeys, 109: 1986