Solomon Island Gecko

Solomon Island Gecko

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Solomon Island skink, prehensile-tailed skink, monkey-tailed skink
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Scincidae
GENUS SPECIES: Corucia zebrata (zebra-like)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Largest of all skinks with an olive green background with darker stripes vertically on the back, has a grasping tail
SIZE: Total length of 75 cm (30 in.), one-half of which is tail
WEIGHT: Approximately 600 grams (21.4 oz.)
DIET: Primarily folivorous, eating the leaves of many varieties of plants
INCUBATION: 6-7 months
SEXUAL MATURITY: 2 years or more
LIFE SPAN: May exceed 15 years
RANGE: Solomon Islands
HABITAT: Primary and secondary tropical forests
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN No data
CITES Appendix II
USFWS No data

FUN FACTS

1. One of only a few species of skinks that is known to live an arboreal existence, climbing slowly from branch to branch. Solomon Island skinks are also completely herbivorous.
2. It is a member of the giant skink family and is only known species of skink with a prehensile, or grasping, tail.
3. Gives birth to only one or two extremely large offspring, which may be up to one-half the size of the mother.
4. These lizards show a degree of parental care not observed in other lizards; the parents will actually protect the young as well as the territory.
5. In defense, the skink is able to make a sharp hissing noise and can deliver a savage bite.
6. These skinks are one of the few lizards not able to cast off their tail in defense and later regenerate a new one.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

As with many tropical forest species, the extensive loss of forests is severely affecting Solomon Islands skinks. These skinks rely entirely upon the trees for food and shelter. Their coloring is an adaptation that camouflages them in the dense canopies of these forests to protect them against predation. Because of their low reproductive rates, this species is at risk due to the pet trade and losses caused by predation by introduced species.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. New York: Facts on File Publications, Inc., 1989

Rogner, Manfred. Lizards. Vol. 2. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Co., 1994.

Rogner, Manfred. Lizards. Vol. 2. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Co., 1994.