Blue-tongued skink

Blue-tongued skink

Blue tongue lizard redirects here. For the aboriginal Australian myth, see Bluetongue Lizard (mythology).

Blue-tongued skinks
Blotched Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia (paraphyletic)
Order: Squamata (paraphyletic)
Infraorder: Scincomorpha
Family: Scincidae
Subfamily: Lygosominae
Genus: Tiliqua
(Gray, 1825)

8, see text.



Blue-tongued skinks comprise the Australasian genus, Tiliqua, which contains some of the largest members of the skink family (Scincidae). They are commonly called blue-tongued lizards or simply blue-tongues in Australia. As suggested by these common names, a prominent characteristic of the genus is a large blue tongue that can be bared as a bluff-warning to potential enemies.


Systematics and Distribution

Blue-tongued skinks are closely related to the genera Cyclodomorphus and Hemisphaeriodon. All species are found on mainland Australia with the exception of Tiliqua gigas which occurs in New Guinea and various islands of Indonesia. One subspecies of Tiliqua scincoides is also found on several small Indonesian islands between Australia and New Guinea. Tiliqua nigrolutea is the only species present in Tasmania. With the exception of the pygmy blue-tongue, they are relatively large lizards (up to 37 cm total length), light-bodied, short-limbed, broad with a distinct head and dull teeth.


Most species are diurnal ground-foraging omnivores, feeding on a wide variety of insects, gastropods, flowers, fruits and berries.[1] The pygmy blue-tongue is again the exception, being primarily an ambush predator of terrestrial arthropods.[2] All are viviparous, with litter sizes ranging from 1-4 in the pygmy blue-tongue and shingleback to 5-24 in the eastern and northern blue-tongues.[3]

Tiliqua scincoides displaying the characteristic blue tongue.

Species and subspecies

  • Tiliqua adelaidensis, (Adelaide) Pygmy Blue-tongued Skink
  • Tiliqua gigas, Indonesian Blue-tongued Skink
    • Tiliqua gigas evanescens, Merakue Blue-tongued Skink
    • Tiliqua gigas keyensis, Key Island Blue-tongued Skink
  • Tiliqua sp., Irian Jaya Blue-tongued Skink
  • Tiliqua multifasciata, Centralian Blue-tongued Skink
  • Tiliqua nigrolutea, Blotched Blue-tongued Skink
  • Tiliqua occipitalis, Western Blue-tongued Skink
  • Tiliqua rugosa, Shingleback (or Sleepy Lizard)
    • Tiliqua rugosa rugosa, Common Shingleback
    • Tiliqua rugosa aspera, Eastern Shingleback
    • Tiliqua rugosa palarra, Shark Bay Shingleback
    • Tiliqua rugosa konowi, Rottnest Island Shingleback
  • Tiliqua scincoides, Australian Blue-tongued Skink
    • Tiliqua scincoides scincoides, Eastern Blue-tongued Skink
    • Tiliqua scincoides intermedia, Northern Blue-tongued Skink
    • Tiliqua scincoides chimaerea, Tanimbar Blue-tongued Skink


  1. ^ Cogger, H. G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed New Holland.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Turner, G. 2001. Keeping Bluetongue Lizards. Australian Reptile Keeper Publications.


  • Austin, J.J. & Arnold, E.N. (2006): Using ancient and recent DNA to explore relationships of extinct and endangered Leiolopisma skinks (Reptilia: Scincidae) in the Mascarene islands. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39(2): 503–511. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.12.011 (HTML abstract)
  • Bull, C.M. (1988): Mate fidelity in an Australian lizard Trachydosaurus rugosus (Scincidae). Copeia 1987(3): 749-757.
  • Bull, C.M. (1990): Comparison of displaced and retained partners in a monogamous lizard Tiliqua rugosa. Australian Wildlife Research 17: 135-140.
  • Valentic, R.A. (1996): A prey record of the Eastern Blue-tongue Tiliqua scincoides for the common brown snake Pseudonaja textilis. Monitor 8(3): 155.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • blue-tongued skink — noun : a large and stoutly built Australian scincoid lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) often kept as a pet * * * (also blue tongued lizard) n. a heavily built Australian skink with a large head, short limbs, and a blue tongue, which is displayed in… …   Useful english dictionary

  • blue-tongued skink — noun Any of several species of Australian skinks in the genus Tiliqua, also called blue tongue lizard. Syn: blue tongue …   Wiktionary

  • Northern Blue-tongued Skink — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum …   Wikipedia

  • Blue-tongued — may refer to:* Blotched Blue tongued Lizard, reptile with a long blue tongue * Blue tongued lizard, one of the largest members of the skink family * Eastern blue tongued lizard, variety of large skink which is common throughout Australia …   Wikipedia

  • Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard — Taxobox name = Blotched Blue tongued Skink image width = 250px image caption = Blotched Blue tongued Skink, Tiliqua nigrolutea regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Reptilia ordo = Squamata familia = Scincidae genus = Tiliqua species = T …   Wikipedia

  • Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard — Immature Scientific classification Kingdom: Animal …   Wikipedia

  • Western Blue-tongued Lizard — Taxobox name = Western Blue tongued Lizard image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Reptilia ordo = Squamata subordo = Sauria familia = Scincidae genus = Tiliqua species = T. occipitalis binomial = Tiliqua occipitalis… …   Wikipedia

  • Blue tongue — may refer to :* Blue tongued skink * Bluetongue disease * Blue Tongue Entertainment an Australian video game developer …   Wikipedia

  • blue-tongue — noun or blue tongued lizard 1. : blue tongued skink 2. : a lizard (Tiliqua nigrolutea) of Tasmania …   Useful english dictionary

  • blue-tongue lizard — noun Any of several species of Australian skinks in the genus Tiliqua, also called blue tongued skink. Syn: blue tongue …   Wiktionary

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