Compiler and date details
September 2011 - Dr Paul Horner
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.
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.
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]
Skinner, A. 2007. Phylogenetic relationships and rate of early diversification of Australian Sphenomorphus group scincids (Scincoidea, Squamata). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society of London 92: 347-366
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
|Published||As part of group||Action Date||Action Type||Compiler(s)|
|28-May-2014||LACERTILIA||22-Oct-2014||MODIFIED||Dr Federica Turco (QM)|