| Home | Photo Gallery Shop | Contact Us | About UsArticles |                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Occurrence of Tiliqua scincoides (Hunter, 1790) on Magnetic Island, Queensland.

By Rob Valentic.

INTRODUCTION

As of 1995, there were no published records of the occurrence of the Eastern Blue-tongued Skink Tiliqua scincoides on Magnetic Island, north Queensland (Low, 1978; Various authors, 1977). Furthermore at the time of writing (1995), there are no specimens of T. scincoides lodged at the Queensland Museum from Magnetic Island, although specimens have been found on nearby parts of the mainland (Patrick Couper, pers. comm.). This paper reports the finding of an adult male T. scincoides from the vicinity of Endeavour Creek, western Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island (197' S, 14651' E). 

OBSERVATION 

Date: 21st of  March, 1994.

Time: 13:10hrs (Eastern Standard Time).

Weather Conditions: 29C, with a slight south-westerly breeze, approx. 90% cloud cover and 68% relative humidity (measurements taken with a whirling psychrometer).

Habitat:  An open, semi- cleared coastal plain with isolated clumps of Triodia stenostachya and speargrass overstory. Abutting this area an ephemeral riparian gully of sloping, well-shaded  deciduous monsoonal forest with abundant vine thickets and granodiorite outcroppings.  

Notes: The T. scincoides was sighted active and moving amongst grasses within the integrade zone of the aforementioned habitats. The lizard measured 505mm (total length). Its pattern and colour was similar to that of specimens from the nearby Townsville area (pers. obs.). The lizard was photographed and released. 

 

DISCUSSION 

T. scincoides is perhaps Australia’s best known skink (Worrell, 1969). It is difficult to explain why such a large and conspicuous species has not previously been detected on Magnetic Island.  This is particularly in view of the large permanent human population on the island.

Sue Jones, a long term resident of the island and an experienced wildlife observer, had no prior knowledge of the species on the island despite her living within short walking distance from the site. Shea (1982), citing other references, suggested that some insular populations of Tiliqua gigas have been introduced; possibly by trade vessels.  It is possible that the occurrence of T. scincoides on Magnetic Island has resulted from a relatively recent introduction by humans. Further investigation into Magnetic Island T. scincoides is required to determine if the lizards there are in fact a long established insular population.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I would like to thank the Jones family for their hospitality during my stay at Horseshoe Bay. Thanks also to Lyall Naylor and Jeff Millar who helped in a search of the literature. Patrick Couper of the Queensland Museum also freely offered various assistances.

 

REFERENCES

Low, T.  1978. The Reptiles of Magnetic Island, North Queensland. Herpetofauna 9 (2):10-14.

Shea, G. 1982. Insular range extensions for the New Guinea Blue -tongue Tiliqua gigas (Boddaert) (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Herpetofauna 13 (2): 7-11.

Various authors,  1977. Species list- Reptiles- Magnetic Island National Park. Leaflet by Queensland
National Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane, 1p.

Worrell, E.  1969. Reptiles of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 169pp.