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Family SCINCIDAE


Compiler and date details

September 2011 - Dr Paul Horner

Introduction

This largest and most diverse family of lizards contains more than 1,275 species in 85 genera; of these, some 389 species and 38 genera occur in Australia and make up about 50% of our total lizard fauna. The family is represented in all tropical and temperate regions, although it is most speciose in the region encompassing Africa, southern Asia, the Indo-Australian Archipelago, New Guinea and Australia.

A recent proposal by Hedges (2014), based on a molecular phylogeny, to split Scincidae into 7 separate families (5 of which would include Australian representatives) is not followed here. A second analysis based on "data from 10 nuclear genes for 17 ingroup taxa and 44 genes for 12 taxa" by Lambert et al. (2014) found Scincidae to be a monophyletic group, probably comprising 3 subgroups at level of subfamily.

 

Diagnosis

Characterised in Australia by: limbs variable, ranging from well-developed pentadactyl forms through various stages of limb and digit reduction to snake- or worm-like forms in which limbs are entirely absent; eyelids either movable or fixed, the latter either forming a complete, sealed spectacle or with a slit-like opening above; pupil usually circular, sometimes vertically elliptical; external ear opening either present or absent; body scales usually imbricate, rarely juxtaposed; tongue broad, flat and fleshy, slightly notched in front; scales on top of head usually enlarged to form a series of symmetrical shields.

 

General References

Cogger, H.G. 1979. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 608 pp.

Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Sydney : Reed New Holland 808 pp.

Hedges, S.B. The high-level classification of skinks (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincomorpha). Zootaxa 3765(4): 317–338

Lambert, S.M., Reeder, T.W. & Wiens, J.J. 2014. When do species-tree and concatenated estimates disagree? An empirical analysis with higher-level scincid lizard phylogeny. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2014.10.004]

Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2003. A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Australia : Holland 448 pp.

Worrell, E. 1970. Reptiles of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson xv 169 pp.

 

History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
11-Dec-2014 SCINCIDAE 03-Dec-2014 REVIEWED
28-May-2014 LACERTILIA 22-Oct-2014 MODIFIED Dr Federica Turco (QM)
28-May-2014 16-Dec-2011 MODIFIED
08-Mar-2011 08-Mar-2011 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)