Tiliqua scincoides

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Tiliqua scincoides
Tiliqua scincoides tongue.jpg
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Tiliqua
T. scincoides
Binomial name
Tiliqua scincoides
(White, 1790)

3, see text

Tiliqua scincoides (common blue-tongued skink, [2] blue-tongued lizard, common bluetongue [3] ) is a species of skink. It is native to Australia as well Tanimbar Island (Maluku Province, Indonesia). [3]



There are three subspecies: [3]


This is a large species of terrestrial blue tongue measuring upwards of 60 centimetres in length and over 1 kilogram in mass. It has a stout body and short legs. [2] It is variable in color but generally has a banded pattern. The tongue is blue-violet [4] to cobalt blue in color. [5] The tongue is used, like most animals in the order Squamata, to collect micro molecules to deliver to sensory organs as a "smell" sense using the tip. The tongue of the blue-tongued skink is also useful in catching prey, as it is coated in a sticky mucus to preserve surface tension in motion to draw an insect back into the mouth. [6] Due to its characteristic blue tongue and its curious nature, it is a popular companion animal in Western countries. [7]

This lizard is diurnal, active during the day. It is omnivorous, feeding on insects, snails, frogs, other reptiles, small birds, small mammals, carrion, some plant material, fruits, and other vegetation. [2] [8] [9] It is ovoviviparous, and a live bearing reptile. The female's litter can have a range from 5 to 25 live young per litter with Tiliqua scincoides scincoides being known to carry the largest litters. [4] This species is known to live over 30 years. It is an adaptable animal, often finding habitat in urban and suburban areas, including residential areas of Sydney. [2] The lizard is considered beneficial in these areas, with its appetite for garden pests such as slugs and snails. [4]

When threatened it may hiss and reveal its blue tongue, startling potential predators. [4]

There are many localities and established color variations for each. Eastern blue tongues can have a green or yellow phase, they can have eye bands or not, and look different coming from the Brisbane area and others. In captivity, breeders have expressed albinism and hyper melanism. Northerns are either classic/standard looking or speckled from the Kimberly region and Prince Regent National Park. In captivity, breeders have expressed exaggerated colorations that can be red, yellow, orange, caramel, white, and others. Tanimbar blue tongues are the most glossy and often seen in a gold or silver phase. Tanimbar and Kimberly Northerns are known for being more aggressive in the wild than other species. All blue tongue species display greater tolerance for human interaction the more generations they are bred in captivity.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Skink</span> Family of reptiles

Skinks are lizards belonging to the family Scincidae, a family in the infraorder Scincomorpha. With more than 1,500 described species across 100 different taxonomic genera, the family Scincidae is one of the most diverse families of lizards. Skinks are characterized by their smaller legs in comparison to typical lizards and are found in different habitats except arctic and subarctic regions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Solomon Islands skink</span> Species of lizard

The Solomon Islands skink, also known as prehensile-tailed skink, monkey-tailed skink, giant skink, zebra skink, and monkey skink, is an arboreal species of skink endemic to the Solomon Islands archipelago. It is the largest known extant species of skink.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pink-tongued skink</span> Species of lizard

The pink-tongued skink is a species of lizard in the family Scincidae. C. gerrardii is endemic to Australia, where it is also called commonly the pink-tongued lizard. As suggested by these common names, its distinguishing characteristic is a pink tongue as opposed to the blue tongue of lizards of the closely related genus Tiliqua.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blue-tongued skink</span> Genus of lizards

Blue-tongued skinks comprise the Australasian genus Tiliqua, which contains some of the largest members of the skink family (Scincidae). They are commonly called blue-tongued lizards or simply blue-tongues or blueys in Australia. As suggested by these common names, a prominent characteristic of the genus is a large blue tongue that can be bared as bluff-warning to potential enemies. The type of predator/threat that is near will determine the intensity of colour present in the tongue. In addition, their blue tongue will produce a response in the prey which will in turn diminish the attack. The tongue can also deform itself and produce a thick mucus in order to catch prey. They are relatively shy in comparison with other lizards, and also significantly slower due to their shorter legs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blotched blue-tongued lizard</span> Species of lizard

The blotched blue-tongued lizard, also known as the southern blue-tongued lizard or blotched blue-tongued skink is a blue-tongued skink endemic to south-eastern Australia.

<i>Tiliqua rugosa</i> Species of lizard

Tiliqua rugosa, most commonly known as the shingleback skink or bobtail lizard, is a short-tailed, slow-moving species of blue-tongued skink endemic to Australia. It is commonly known as the shingleback or sleepy lizard. Three of its four recognised subspecies are found in Western Australia, where the bobtail name is most frequently used. The fourth subspecies, T. rugosa asper, is the only one native to eastern Australia, where it goes by the common name of the eastern shingleback.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern blue-tongued lizard</span> Species of reptile

The Tiliqua scincoides scincoides, or eastern blue-tongued lizard, is native to Australia. It is unique due to its blue tongue, which can be used to warn off predators. In addition to flashing its blue tongue, the skink hisses and puffs up its chest to assert dominance and appear bigger when in the presence of its predators such as large snakes and birds. The eastern blue tongue is ovoviviparous and precocial, meaning that its young are more developed and advanced at their time of birth. The Tiliqua scincoides scincoides is not venomous to humans and can be found in suburban and urban areas, specifically in house gardens.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cunningham's spiny-tailed skink</span> Species of lizard

Cunningham's spiny-tailed skink, also known commonly as Cunningham's skink, is a species of large skink, a lizard in the family Scincidae. The species is native to southeastern Australia.

<i>Scincella lateralis</i> Species of lizard

Scincella lateralis, formerly Lygosoma laterale is a small species of skink found throughout much of the eastern half of the United States, and into northern Mexico. The ground skink differs from the majority of North American lizard species in that it is generally considered a forest dweller. Common names for this species include the little brown skink and the ground skink. However, the common name, ground skink, may refer to any species in the genus Scincella.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western blue-tongued lizard</span> Species of lizard

The western blue-tongued lizard, also known as the western blue-tongued skink, is a large skink native to Australia. It is one of six species of blue-tongued skinks found in Australia, though further species are found in New Guinea and Indonesia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Northern blue-tongued skink</span> Subspecies of lizard

The northern blue-tongued skink or northern blue-tongued lizard is the largest and heaviest of the blue-tongued lizards. They are native to Australia and found almost exclusively in the Northern Region. They generally live around 20 years and are commonly kept as pets.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">King's skink</span> Species of lizard

King's skink is a species of skink, a lizard in the family Scincidae. The species is endemic to Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink</span> Species of lizard

The Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink or pygmy bluetongue is a species of skink, a lizard in the family Scincidae. The species was previously thought to be extinct and only rediscovered in 1992. Known locations of the species extend from Kapunda in the Light River valley, about 77 kilometres (48 mi) north east of Adelaide, northwards to Peterborough, about 254 kilometres (158 mi) north of Adelaide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bougainville's skink</span> Species of lizard

Bougainville's skink is a species of skink, a lizard in the family Scincidae. This species is also commonly called the south-eastern slider and Bougainville's lerista.

<i>Morethia boulengeri</i> Species of lizard

Morethia boulengeri is a species of lizard in the family Scincidae. The species is endemic to Australia and Indonesia.

<i>Tiliqua gigas</i> Species of lizard

The Indonesian blue-tongued skink is a lizard in the family Scincidae. It is a close relative of the Eastern blue-tongued lizard. They are endemic to the island of New Guinea and other various surrounding islands. They are found typically in the rainforest, and in captivity, require high humidity. As opposed to Tiliqua scincoides, they are fairly lean. They're also accompanied by long tails.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Centralian blue-tongued skink</span> Species of lizard

The Centralian blue-tongued skink or Centralian blue-tongue is a species of skink, occurring predominantly in the far north-west corner of New South Wales, Australia. It is one of six species belonging to the genus Tiliqua; the blue-tongued skinks and the shinglebacks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stokes's skink</span> Species of lizard

Egernia stokesii is a gregarious species of lizard of the Scincidae family. This diurnal species is endemic to Australia, and is also known as the Gidgee skink, spiny-tailed skink, Stokes's skink and Stokes's egernia. The species forms stable, long-term social aggregations, much like the social groups seen in mammalian and avian species. This characteristic is rarely found in the Squamata order, but is widespread within the Australian subfamily of Egerniinae skinks. Populations of E. stokesii are widely distributed, but fragmented, and occur in semi-arid environments. There are three recognised subspecies. The conservation status for the species is listed as least concern, however, one subspecies is listed as endangered.

The saltbush slender bluetongue is a species of lizard in the family Scincidae. The species is endemic to the arid interior of eastern Australia. Although its conservation status is of least concern, it has been listed as endangered in New South Wales. The slender saltbush bluetongue has been recorded in Sturt National Park in New South Wales but extends into northeast South Australia and south-west Queensland.


  1. Shea, G. (2017). "Tiliqua scincoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2017: e.T109481538A109481555. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T109481538A109481555.en . Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Koenig, Jennifer; Shine, Richard; Shea, Glenn (2002). "The dangers of life in the city: patterns of activity, injury and mortality in suburban lizards (Tiliqua scincoides)" (PDF). Journal of Herpetology. 36 (1): 62–68. doi:10.1670/0022-1511(2002)036[0062:TDOLIT]2.0.CO;2. S2CID   43481348.
  3. 1 2 3 Tiliqua scincoides at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 18 May 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Tiliqua scincoides. Australian Reptile Online Database.
  5. Abbate, F.; Latella, G.; Montalbano, G.; Guerrera, M. C.; Germanà, G. P.; Levanti, M. B. (2009). "The lingual dorsal surface of the blue‐tongue skink (Tiliqua scincoides)". Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia. 38 (5): 348–350. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0264.2009.00952.x. PMID   19769569. S2CID   24711884.
  6. Sack, Jeffrey D. (August 2022). "True Facts: Snake and Lizard Tongues". The American Biology Teacher. University of California Press. 84 (6): 378. doi:10.1525/abt.2022.84.6.378. Archived from the original on August 2, 2022. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  7. Jirik, Kate (2018). "Eastern Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua scincoides) Fact Sheet". San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.
  8. "Tiliqua scincoides (Common Bluetongue, Eastern Bluetongue, Northern Bluetongue, Eastern Blue-Tongued Lizard)". Animal Diversity Web .
  9. "LibGuides: Eastern Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua scincoides) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding".