Key to Identifying Grass Skinks

There are three very similar species of skinks in Tasmania in the genus Pseudemoia. These include the Tussock skink Pseudemoia pagenstecheri, the Southern Grass skink Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii and the Glossy Grass skink Pseudemoia rawlinsoni. All three species have a pattern made up of parallel stripes along the body and all three have separate frontoparietal scales.

These skinks look a bit like the Three-lined Skink Acritoscincus duperreyi which while usually strongly striped, always has the frontoparietal scales fused to form a single shield. The species most likely to be encountered is the Southern Grass skink which lives in the broadest range of habitats of the three.

Key to identifying Grass skinks

1a.Pale dorsolateral stripe, if present, on scale row 4 or both scale rows 3 and 4: Scales on back matt or metallic-iridescent and either smooth or faintly triple-keeled, with curved posterior margins in plan view: Five supraciliary scales. Go to 2.
1b.Pale dorsolateral stripe always present and only on scale row 3; dorsal scales highly glossy and strongly triple keeled, with straight posterior margins in plan view; Six supraciliaries. Found amongst dense vegetation in damp areas. Glossy Grass skink.

2a.Dorsal surface pale olive, grey brown or dark brown, without metallic lustre; pale lateral stripes clearly defined and straight-edged, without darker or lighter lateral speckling; black lower edge of pale midlateral stripe, if present, broken and on some scale margins only; red colouring in breeding males limited to the midlateral stripe. Tussock grasslands only, does not climb to bask. Tussock skink.
2b.Variable; dorsal colouring often with a metallic lustre and lateral striped pattern often broken by darker and lighter speckling; strongly striped specimens usually have a distinct black lower margin on the pale midlateral stripe; red colouring in breeding males includes both the midlateral stripe and the belly. Woodlands as well as grasslands, basks on rocks, stumps and logs. Southern Grass skink.
Back Home