The Glossy Grass Skink
Copyright: Hans Wapstra
The Glossy Grass Skink (Pseudemoia rawlinsoni)
is a little-known lizard that lives amongst dense vegetation, usually close to water. It is a live-bearing species which in Tasmania is known only from a few localities.
Like other members of the genus
Pseudemoia, the strongly marked Glossy grass skink is not an easy species to identify. It gets its name from the shiny or glossy appearance of the skin. The Glossy Grass Skink has a dark vertebral stripe and a conspicuous straight-edged white dorso-lateral stripe along the middle of scale row three (as measured from vertebral line) bordered by black lines. The species also has a distinct mid-lateral line bordered by black lines. The dorsal colour is light to dark olive green. Frontoparietal shields are separate. The interparietal shield is almost as large as a frontoparietal. The midbody scales are in 25-28 rows, the dorsal scales, including paravertebral scales, with three distinct, rounded keels. The prefrontals are widely separated. The Glossy Grass skink is a small species. Males have a head and body length of 49 mm, and females reach 54-63 mm.
All Grass skinks in the genus Pseudemoia have divided frontoparietal shields. They have been highlighted in this picture to show their position.
Frontoparietal shields of a Southern grass skink
Glossy Grass skinks live amongst rushy grasses and low dense vegetation in moist situations along the margins of swamps and watercourses. The species has also been found where dry sclerophyll forest meets wet heathland subject to frequent flooding. This little-known skink shelters in dense vegetation and in rotting logs.
Most specimens found on mainland Tasmania have been in the north of the state around Launceston. The Glossy Grass skink has also been found on Cape Barren Island. The species also occurs in the high country of Victoria and southern NSW.
This species appears to meet the criteria to be listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Act.
Habitat destruction, especially grazing pressure from sheep and cattle during periodic droughts.