Herpetology of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Our records => Scincidae, Gray 1825

Panaspis tancredi (BOULENGER, 1909)

Short description:
Panaspis (Afroablepharus) tancredi is small, up to 150 mm maximum length skink (SVL 28mm). Snout short, obtuse. Eye bordered by granules and by the second and third supraciliaries. Rostral forming a narrow suture with the frontonasal; praefrontals forming a median suture, which is as long as the frontonasal; frontal small as large as a fronto— parietal, in contact with the first supraocular only; frontoparietals and interparietal distinct; two supraoculars, first the larger; four supracillaries; a single pair of nuchals; four upper labials anterior to the subocular. Ear-opening small, round. Body elongate; 22 scales round the body, of two median dorsal series largest. A pair of enlarged praeanals. Limbs short, pentadactyle, widely separated when adpressed; digits obtuser keeled inferiorly; third and fourth toes equal. Brown above; sides darker, with blackish lines along the series of scales; a series of whitish spots on the side of the head and neck; upper and lower labials each with a round black spot; lower parts greyish white [According to BOULENGER].

Northwest Ethiopia ( 13°08´N 37°33´E ).

About the biology of this species we do not have any more information. Probably, that way of life will not different from other species of the genus.

Description original:
Boulenger, G.A.: List of Reptiles and Batrachians collected by Capt. U. Ferrandi at Jumbo, lower Juba [Bardera]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. Giacomo Doria 44: 310-311

Described as Ablepharus tancredi

Common english name: Ethiopian Snake-Eyed Skink

Panaspis wahlbergi (SMITH, 1849)

Short description:
A small skink, total length not exceed 150 mm, immovable eyelids, tail slightly longer than the snout-vent length; the body scales smooth in 24-26 rows at midbody; nasale and praefrontale distinctly separated; variable color, dorsum usually bronzed brown, two dark stripes running on each side; in daylight opalescent.

Namibia, N Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Mozambique, Republic of South Africa (Natal, Transvaal, Swaziland), Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola, S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia, SW Arabia. In Ethiopia from south across Rift Valley to the north of Addis Ababa, west of the Rift Valley in ethiopian highland at altitudes up to 2200 m asl.

Diurnal. Under stones, in the ground cracks, under fallen trunks or among grass roots living species. Males are smaller than females. Females lays small number of oval eggs (2-6) in size 8 x 5 mm. The incubation period takes 40 to 50 days, youngs are very small, total length to 30 mm. They feed small insects, mainly termites. Short lived lizard.

Description original:
Smith,A.: Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa, Reptilia. Smith, Elder & Co., London (1847-1849)

Described as Cryptoblepharus wahlbergi

Common english name: Wahlberg’s snake-eyed skink

Panaspis wahlbergi - Jimma, Amest Kilo, W Ethiopia

Panaspis sp.

Distribution: El Sod, south Ethiopia, Borana.

Only one specimen was found under stone, beside the road from Wachille to Moyale-Addis Abeba main road.
Undetermined species

Panaspis sp. - El Sod, S Ethiopia

Mochlus afer (PETERS 1854)

Mochlus afer - E Neghelle, Ethiopia

Short description:
A Medium-sized skink, with a maximum length to 230 mm, approx. up to 200 mm. Maximum recorded snoutvent length 140 mm. Both sexes are about the same size. The tail is strong and long around half of total lenght. Variable colour, usually brown, or dark brown, sometimes up to pink, with small darker spots on the smooth scales. Lower eyelid scaly; pterygoid teeth present or absent; frontoparietals paired; a discrete supranasal above a divided nasal shield; digits pentadactyle; dorsal scales smooth throughout life; 24-30 midbody scale rows; three supralabials anterior to subocular; no lanceolate lobules on anterior border of ear opening; subdigital lamellae beneath fourth toe 9-15, beneath fifth toe 5-7. Pale to dark brown above, usually with numerous dark brown and white spots and streaks; ventrum white, sometimes with brown spots.

In Ethiopia Rift Valley, north to Tana (Gorgora), southwest (Lake Staphanie, Omo basin) and west to Gambella. East to Borana, Ogaden and Somalia. In Africa Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and south to Mossambic.

It inhabit wooded savannah and scrubland, in Ethiopia and Kenya also extends to higher sites. We can find them most often under stones in the sandy-rocky areas. Females lay 5-7 eggs 10x15 mm. The incubation period is not known. Pray mainly small insects, termites, arachnids and scorpions.

Description original:
Peters,W.C.H.: Diagnosen neuer Batrachier, welche zusammen mit der früher (24. Juli und 17. August) gegebenen Übersicht der Schlangen und Eidechsen mitgetheilt werden. Ber. Bekanntmach. Geeignet. Verhandl. Königl.-Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1854: 614-628

Described as Eumeces afer

Common english name: Peters’ Writhing Skink

Mochlus afer - Awash NP, E Ethiopia

Mochlus sundevalli (SMITH, 1849)

Short description:
The variability of the coloration of this species almost baffles description. The tendency in Morogoro specimens was to be heavily spotted with black on a ground-colour of purplish brown, a very handsome form. The Lumbo specimens inhabiting a sandy soil were more often of a light brown colour. Notes made at the time read: “ Very variable." Usually plumbeous above and dirty white below. Underside of tail as often mottled as not. Some specimens mottled all over upper surface with black and White; black spots oblong, White spots round or oval. Others again are plain above, but mottled on the sides and tail.” The uniform dirty white of the under surface is noticeable in these Lumbo specimens when compared with those obtained at Morogoro, which are generally mottled on the under surface of head and body as well as tail [According to LOVERIDGE].
Quite similar to the previous species, but is a bit smaller. The total length not exceeding 180 mm, on average to 160 mm. Number of dorsals are 24 to 30 rows in midbody. Tail strong and long about half of the total length. Colour is variable, usually brown or to yellowish brown, scales are smooth.

In Ethiopia south and southwest near the border with Kenya and South Sudan (Omo, Moyale, Dolo, Gambella). In Africa south from Kenya and Ethiopia, Somalia, south Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, SW to Angola. South to northern RSA.

Like the previous species inhabit woodlands savanna from the coast up to 2,000 m.s.l. He lives in rocky areas on sandy soil, mainly under rocks, roots, or in a termite hills, or in rodent burrows. Females lays between 2-8 eggs in size 10x15 mm. The incubation period is about 60 days. Food is various insects, including termites.

Description original:
Smith,A.: Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa, Reptilia. Smith, Elder & Co., London (1847-1849)

Described as Eumices (Riopa) sunderallii

Common english name: Sundevall’s Writhing Skink

Mochlus sundevalli - Yabello, S Ethiopia

Mochlus paedocarinatum (LANZA & CARFI 1968)

26 midbody scale rows. Originally described as Lygosoma laeviceps paedocarinatum LANZA & CARF 1968, later elevated to full species (Lygosoma paedocarinatum - LANZA 1990). It known only from a few specimens which are caught in northeastern Somalia in the border with Ethiopian region Ogaden. The biology and the actual extent of distribution is not known.

Arid and hot somali zone at altitude 600-1000 m, in northern Somalia and most eastern Ethiopia (E Ogaden).

Description original:
Lanza, B. and Carfi, S.: Gli scincidi della Somalia (Reptilia, Squamata). Monit. zool. ital. (N. S.) 2: 207-260.
Described as Lygosoma laeviceps paedocarinatum

Common english name: Lanza’s Writhing Skink

Mochlus somalicum (PARKER, 1942)

Mochlus cf.somalicum - Somaliland
Mochlus cf.somalicum - Somaliland
Short description:
A medium sized skink; largest adult 85 mm SVL. Head shields is constantly as long as or a little longer, instead of shorter, than the fronto-parietals and parietals together. The prefrontals and posterior loreals are fused; scales smooth, in 26 or 28 rows at midbody; limbs slightly longer than in the typical form, the posterior contained 3.4 to 4.6 times in the length from snout to vent; outer toe much longer, with 7—9 (5—6) subdigital lamellae, extending as far, or nearly as far, as the second. Juveniles pale brown, spotted with darker brown above, the spots forming longitudinal series, and with a broad, white-spotted, dark, lateral band. With increasing age these markings become less defined and the adult is pale brown with dark spotting on the head and indefinite small lighter and darker spots dorsally. Lower surfaces uniform white [PARKER].

Northwest Somaliland (Berbera, Waga, Golis Mt., 42°50'E - 10°10'N a 43°E - 10°05'N kpt. Taylor) and adjascent part of Ethiopia, to the south across Ogaden and Somalia to eastern Kenya and northeastern Tanzania.

Poorly known species. Inhabit dry savana in lowland , from sea level to 1200 m. Day activity. Lives secretly under rocks, inside holes in sandy soil, under roots of shrubs...etc. They prey small insects. Females lays several small eggs.

●Lanza, B. 1988. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic: check list and biogeography. Biogeographia, 14: 407-465 [1990]

Description original:
Parker, H. W.: The lizards of British Somaliland. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 91: 1—101

Described as Riopa modesta somalica

Common english name: Somali Writhing Skink

Mochlus vinciguerrae (PARKER, 1932)

Snout depressed, wedge-shaped. Nostril in a single nasal, which is in contact with its fellow behind the rostra1; no supranasals; fronto-nasal a little broader than long (5 : 4); prefrontals present, widely separated; frontal longer than the fronto-parietals and interparietal together, in contact with the 3 anterior supraoculars; parietals in contact behind the interparietal, and each bordered by 3 enlarged scales; 4 supraoculars; 6 or 7 supraciliaries, the first and last largest; 2 loreals ; a single preocular; lower eyelid scaly; six upper lnbials, the fourth and fifth largest, beneath the eye; ear-opening small, oblique. Limbs short, pentadactyl; the anterior bent forwards, not quite reaching the ear; the posterior as long as the distance between the arm and the tip of the snout. Fingers short, the third a little longer than the fourth; toes slender, the fourth much longer than the third, and the fifth nearly extending as far forwards as the second; 15 lamells beneath the fourth, and 7 beneath the fifth, toe. Scales smooth, in 24 rows; preanals not enlarged. Pale yellowish brown above; a broad, dark-brown, lateral hand from the nostril through the eye, above the ear and limbs; a pair of narrow, dark, dorsal stripes commencing on the parietal shields and running to the base of the tail; tail brown-spotted anteriorly. Lower surfaces uniform white [PARKER].

Inhabit dry savannas and semi-deserts areas from sea level to 1200 m. It is found nearby burrow holes. Daytime activity. They hunt small insects. The way of life is almost unknown.

North Somalia (Somaliland) - Haud, Ado.
Haud 640 m. 46°20'E - 8°15'N, 732 m. 46°25'E - 8°30'N, 670 m. 46°09'E - 8°17'N, 640 m. 46°19'E - 8°14'N, 732 m. 45°49'E - 8°24'N, Ado 640 m. 45°15'E - 7°20'N
and adjascent parts of Ethiopia (Ogaden).

Lanza,B. 1983. A list of the Somali amphibians and reptiles. MONITORE ZOOLOGICO ITALIANO, new Ser., SUPPL. 18 (8): 193-247

Description original:
Parker,H.W:. Two collections af amphibians and reptiles from British Somaliland. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1932: 335-367

Described as Lygosoma vinciguerrae

Common english name: Vinciguerra's Writhing Skink

Trachylepis brevicollis (WIEGMANN 1837)

Trachylepis brevicollis - Dire Dawa, E Ethiopia

Short description:
A big and robust skink. Head short and in proportion to the body seems small. Eye big, pupil circular. Tail on the base thickened, long about half of the total length. Dorsal scales tricarinate; midbody scale rows 30-34; maximum length over 300 mm, but in average less; juveniles are dark, with bright spots and yellow throat.
30 to 32 scales round mid-body; ear-opening with 2 or 3 short obtuse lobules anteriorly. Praefrontals forming a short median suture [LOVERIDGE].

In Ethiopia northeast a east part, central Ethiopia (Awash) and to south Rift Valley, Borana. Also in Eritrea (type) and Djibouti, Uganda, south to Tanzania. Also occur in Yemen, Oman and south of Saudi Arabia.

Live in hot and dry areas, in semi-deserts and savannah, from sea level to over 1500 m. Day activity. Occupies trunks, roots of shrubs, rocks, but also old houses or walls. Females give birth youngs. They feed insects and other arthropods.

Description original:
Wiegmann, A. F. A.: Herpetologische Notizen. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 3: 123-136

Described as Euprepes brevicollis

Common english name: Short-necked Skink

Trachylepis brevicollis - habitat, Dire Dawa, E Ethiopia

Trachylepis hildebrandtii (PETERS 1874)

Short description:
This Species is known only from collection specimens (Syntypes: ZMB 8121, 8122, 8219). Loveridge (1923, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, p. 859, a 1929, p.73) says Trachylepis, resp. Mabuya hildebrandtii, as synonym to Trachylepis, resp.Mabuya varia, but Scortecci considers it to be full species. Later (Lanza,B. 1983. A list of the Somali amphibians and reptiles a Lanza, B. 1990. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic, or in following work from 1988 is referred only as a valid species.

Central Somalia , Wabe Shebelle Valley a Juba region (Lugh, Brava, Goscia), in Somaliland ( Berbera - Obbia) and apparently adjascent parts of Ethiopia (Haud and Ogaden).
Lanza, B. 1988. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic: check list and biogeography. Biogeographia, 14: 407-465 [1990]

Original description:
Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig: Über einige neue Reptilien (Lacerta, Eremias, Diploglossus, Euprepes, Lygosoma, Sepsina, Ablepharus, Simotes, Onychocephalus). Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1874 (Juni): 368-377

Described as Euprepes (Euprepis) Hildebrandtii

Common english name: Hildebrandt’s Skink

Trachylepis isselii (PETERS 1871)

Short description:
Rather small skink, very similar to Trachylepis varia, but it is differs from it by single and unpaired frontoparietal shield. Dorsal scales tricarinate, 30-34 midbody scale rows. The colour of dorsum is grey-brown or golden-brown, with darker spots. Pale dorsolateral stripe. Belly is white or yellowish.
Unteres Augenlid mit durchsichtiger Scheibe, Körperschuppen in 31 Längsreihen, die des Rückens mit drei Längskielen. Ohröffnung ziemlich klein, vorderer Rand derselben mit zwei vorspringenden abgerundeten Schüppchen. Supranasalia schmal, aneinanderstofsend. Internasale rhomboidal, breiter als lang, mit der hinteren Spitze das Frontale beriihrend' oder von demselben durch die Präfrontalia getrennt. Frontale vorn stumpfwinklig, mit langen nach hinten convergirenden Seitenrändern und mit abgerundeter Endspitze. Frontoparietale einfach, breit herzförmig, zuweilen ist jederseits der hintere aufsere abgerundete Winkel als eine besondere Schuppe getrennt; Interparietale langgezogen dreieckig, hinten spitz, mit der vordern abgerundeten Seite in dem Ausschnitt des Frontoparietale liegend. Vier Supraorbitalia, von denen das erste sehr klein ist. Nasale länglich, vorn zugespitzt; Nasenöffnung näher dem hinteren Rande als der vorderen Spitze gelegen und fast die ganze Breite desselben einnehmend. Frenale eben so lang, aber niedriger als das Frenoorbitale. 7 Supralabialia, von denen das 5. das längste ist und unter dem Auge liegt. Eine Furche über dem 2., 3., 4. und dem Anfange des 5. Supralabiale. 8 Infralabialia, von denen das 1. sehr klein ist. Der Schwanz ist an der Basis abgeplattet und dann schnell verdünnt, in dem Endtheile oben Wie unten von einer Längsreihe breiter querer Schuppen bedeckt. Die Finger und Zehen sind zusammengedrückt und ihre Sohlenschuppen springen jederseits sägezahnförmig vor. Oben olivenbraun oder olivengrün, auf dem Rücken schwarz und gelblich gefleckt. Jederseits zwei helle gelbliche Streifen, von denen der obere von der Supraorbitalgegend entspringt und sich auf der Schwanzbasis verliert, der untere von dem gelben Oberlippenrande ausgeht, durch das Ohr, über der vorderen Extremität, längs der Körperseite bis zum Oberschenkel geht und hinter diesem sich an der Seite der Schwanzbasis fortsetzt. Der obere Streifen wird von dem der anderen Seite durch 6 Schuppenreihen, von dem unteren durch 2 bis 3 durch schwarze Punkte dunkler gefärbte Schuppenreihen getrennt. Die Unterseite ist grünlichgelb [PETERS].

Central and North Ethiopia (Gondar, Debre Marcos, Semien Mountains) and Eritrea. Type locality Keren in central Eritrea.

It inhabits in the lower altitudes in dry and scrubland savannah, at higher altitudes in meadows and forest edges. Around Asmara occur also on edges of fields. In Semien Mountains reaches up to 3,300 m. Females give birth several youngs. Way of life unknown.

Description original:
Peters, W. 1871. Uber neue Reptilien aus Ostafrika und Sarawak (Borneo), vorzüglich aus der Sammlung des Hrn. Marquis J. Doria zu Genua. Mber. k. preuss. Akad. Wiss., Berlin [1871]: 566-581

Described as Euprepes (Euprepis) Isselii

Trachylepis isselii - habitat, Asmara, Eritrea

Trachylepis maculilabris (GRAY 1845)

Short description:
A medium sized skink, maximum length to 300 mm, but usually less, youngs 50 až 80 mm, tail 60-70% of total lenght. Typical are yellow eyelid; 7 keels on dorsal scales; 29-38 (30-32 in LOVERIDGE) midbody scale rows; frontoparietal shield paired; 4 - 5 supraciliars; labials white with dark spots; color variable, the basic color is light brown or bronze-brown, more or less visible stripes extend from neck to flanks, they may be dark brown or brick red.

In Ethiopia from Rift Valley to Sudan border, but only in some places on grassy edges of forests up to 2200 m. It is quite frequent along the road and and on pastures between towns Bedelle and Gore in west Ethiopia.

Day activity skink which inhabits in meadows, forests, rocky places, also villages. Always in wetter areas. Females lay up to 8 eggs in size 10x15 mm. They feed a insects, but also slugs and other invertebrates.

Description original:
Gray, J. E.: Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp.

Described as Euprepis maculilabris

Common english name: Speckle-lipped Mabuya

Trachylepis maculilabris - habitat, Ugudi, Gambella, Ethiopia

Trachylepis quinquetaeniata (LICHTENSTEIN, 1823)

Short description:
A medium-sized, robust skink, total lenght 250 mm; 34 - 36 midbody scale rows; ethiopian population until 35-42 scale rows at midbody; dorsal scales tricarinate; they are significant sexual dimorphism. Females are brown, with five white stripes. Labials white. Males are dark brown or grey; yellow-orange stripe extend from supralabials to shoulder, sometimes to flanks. Yellow-orange is also throat. Body strong, robust, head short, rostrum relatively sharp. Tail long, separable (Autotomy) and regenerate. Color of youngs is similar to females, but the tail is blue.
Dorsal scales tricarinate or bicarinate; 30 to 32 scales round midbody; ear openning with 2 to 4 short obtuse lobules anteriorly [LOVERIDGE].

In Ethiopia locally on the whole territory at suitable places. East (Dire Dawa), west (Gambella), south (Lake Stephanie), north (Tana Lake-Bahir Dar, Tigray), central Ethiopia (Guder, Awash).

Day activity. Inhabits rocky slopes, big trees and roots, bridges, old walls, old houses. Always at lower and warm altitudes. It Is active even at very high temperatures. Juveniles I saw most often on rough crust of large trees.
Females lays 3-10 egs in size 17 x 10 mm. The incubation period about 50 days. They prey insects and other small arthropods.

Description original:
Lichtenstein, M. HINRICH C.: Verzeichniss der Doubletten des zoologischen Museums der Königl. Universität zu Berlin nebst Beschreibung vieler bisher unbekannter Arten von Säugethieren, Vögeln, Amphibien und Fischen. Königl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss./ T. Trautwein, Berlin. x, 118 pages

Described as Scincus quinquetaeniatus

Common english name: African Five-lined Skink

Trachylepis quinquetaeniata - habitat, Mai Tsemree, Tigray, NW Ethiopia

Trachylepis varia (PETERS, 1867)

Short description:
Rather a small skink in variable color. Typical is brown dorsum with dark spots, two bright-lined dark dorsolateral stripes extend from eye to tail. Another two bright stripes on the sides extend from the mouth to the base of tail. Dorsal scales tricarinate, midbody rows 27-36. The maximum length about 200 mm, 50-60 mm youngs.
30 to 36 scales round mid-body; dorsals tricarinate; subocular largely bordering the lip; frontoparietals distinct [LOVERIDGE].

In Ethiopia locally, across the whole territory from the south to central part of country. East to somaliland border.

Its Inhabits grasslands, in higher altitudes meadows and edges of forests. Mostly near rocks or large trees, but also on open plains, near the fields, or     in ditches along roads. They feed insects, females born around 10 youngs.

Description original:
Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig: Herpetologische Notizen. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1867 (Januar): 13-37

Described as Euprepes (Euprepis) varius
Common english name: Variable skink

Trachylepis varia - habitat, N of Addis Abeba, Shewa, C Ethiopia

Trachylepis striata (PETERS, 1844)

Short description:
A medium-sized, moderatelly robust skink. Tail rather short, of about half of total lenght. Dorsal scales tricarinate, midbody rows 33-42. Total lenght to 250 mm, newborns 60-70 mm. Fronto-parietal shield paired, dorsum grey-brown, dark brown or olive, with dorsolateral longitudinal whitish stripes. On the sides may be bright spots. Underside cream, or white. Males are in the same colour as females, but more slender.

In Ethiopia on the whole territory, except very hot and dry regions. Most abundant skink in Ethiopia. It occurs also in urban areas, including center of the capital city Addis Ababa. Extend up to 2800 m asl, but not so high as Trachylepis isseli or T.varia.

Diurnal. Inhabits rocky slopes, roots of big trees, parks, gardens, bridges, walls, buildings in towns ...etc. Females give birth about 10 newborns. They feeds on insects, but also fruits.

Description original:
Peters, W.C.H.: Über einige neue Fische und Amphibien aus Angola und Mozambique. Ber. Bekanntmach. Geeignet. Verhandl. Königl.-Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1844: 32-37

Described as Tropidolepisma striatum
Common english name: African Striped Mabuya

Trachylepis striata - habitat, Sar Sefer, Jimma suburb, W Ethiopia

Trachylepis megalura (PETERS, 1878)

Short description:
A small skink with long slender tail. Snout-vent lenght only about 70 mm, but total lenght exceed 250 mm. Tail used to climbing on grass. Rostrum rounded, body slender, limbs are small and weak. Dorsal scales keeled, mid-body scale rows 24-27. Youngs are very small and slender, TL 50-70 mm. Dorsum grey-brown or red-brown, sometimes with one or more darker longitudinal vertebral stripes, sometimes unpatterned. Blackish lateral band, and typical is pale lateral stripe from mouth to tail.

In Ethiopia relatively abundant, but secretly living species. It occupies open grassy plains and meadows in altitudes from 1300 to 3000 m. From the south via the Rift Valley, east to Wabi Shebelle, in Bale extends to Goba and Dinsho. It also occurs around Addis Abeba.

Day activity. Inhabits grasslands and meadows on higher altitudes, and with using the long tail "swims" in grass. Hiding in the roots of bushes or in holes in the ground. Females give birth, around 15 newborns. They prey small insects, especially grasshoppers but also other arthropods, spiders, termites...

Description original:
Peters,W.C.H.: Über die von Hrn. J. M. Hildebrandt während seiner letzten ostafrikanischen Reise gesammelten Säugethiere und Amphibien. Mber. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1878: 194-209

Described as Euprepes (Mabuia) megalurus
Common english name: Long-tailed Skink

Trachylepis planifrons (PETERS, 1878)

Trachylepis planifrons - Kenya

Short description:
A large arboreal skink, total lenght 350 mm, average to 300 mm, tail long, more than snout-vent length; dorsal scales slightly keeled, midbody scale rows 25 - 32; dorsum grey-brown, dark spots along vertebral line, pale dorsolateral stripes; similar to T.striata or T.varia but the tail is much longer.
28 to 32 scales round mid-body; ear-opening with 2 or 4 projecting lobules anteriorly; praefrontals separated by truncated end of frontal, in contact with frontonasal

In Ethiopia south and east part. Rift Valley around lakes (Abaya, Chammo, Abyata) up to Awash NP in central Ethiopia. East from Negelle to Wabe Shebelle river in ethiopian Ogaden, south to Kenyan border and Somalia (Dolo). In Ethiopia not ewceed altitude than 1800 m.

Inhabits forest savannah and Accacia-Commiphora shrubland. It occupies large trees. Females lays eggs under tree roots or in deep holes under rocks. They feed insects.

Description original:
Peters,W.C.H.: Über die von Hrn. J. M. Hildebrandt während seiner letzten ostafrikanischen Reise gesammelten Säugethiere und Amphibien. Mber. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1878: 194-209

Described as Euprepes (Euprepis) planifrons
Common english name: Tree skink

Trachylepis wingati (WERNER, 1908)

Trachylepis wingati - in original description

Short description:
Die Supranasalia sind hinter dem Rostrale in Kontakt; das Frontonasale ist genau doppelt so groß wie lang (bei raddoni ist das Verhältnis von Breite zu Länge etwa wie 1.36 bis 1.48 : 1); die Präfrontalia bilden eine lange Sutur; das zweite supraoculare ist das größte und berührt deutlich das präfrontale; parietalia durch das occipitale vollständig getrennt; ein paar Nuchalia; Suboculare nach unten ein wenig verschmälert, gegen dreimal so lang als eines der benachbarten Supralabialia; ohröffnung schief elliptisch, mit 3 bis 5 sehr kleinen und spitzigen Schüppchen am Vorderrande. Rückenschuppen deutlich dreikielig; 30 bis 32 Schuppen rund um die mitte des rumpfes. Das nach vorn an den körper angelegte Hinterbein reicht beim ♂ bis zur Mitte der Hand des nach hinten gerichteten Vorderbeines; beim 9 erreichen sich bei dieser Lage Finger und Zehen nicht [WERNER in original].
Rather small skink, snout-vent lenght up to 100 mm; midbody scale rows 30 - 32, dorsal scales 3x keeled, fronto-parietal shield paired; limbs short and strong; dorsum grey-brown or brown, lateral pale stripes; the underside white.

About the distribution of the species is not much known. It is known only from eastern Sudan and from W Ethiopia, its observed in the northwest, near the town Bahir Dar, on the west around city Ghimbi and also bridge on river Didessa between Nekemte and Bedelle (Ghimbi 1850 m, Bahir Dar 1800 m, Bonga 1750, Dides river bridge 1270 m). Last is observation from meadows around Bonga [Kirschey, Tom 2016].

It was found in the wettlands areas of savanna and forest margins, usually near water or marshes. About the way of life is almost nothing known.

Description original:
Werner,F.: Ergebnisse der mit Subvention aus der Erbschaft Treitl unternommenen zoologischen Forschungsreise Dr. Franz Werner's nach nach dem Ägyptischen Sudan und Norduganda. XII. die Reptilien und Amphibien. Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. Wien 116 [1907]: 1823-1926

Described as Mabuia wingati
Common english name: Wingate’s Skink

Heremites septemtaeniatus (REUSS, 1834)

Short description:
Medium-sized skink, total length up to 280 mm. Snout short, obtuse. Lower eyelid with an undivided transparent disk. Nostril entirely or greater part behind the vertical of the suture between the rostral and the first labial; normally no postnasal; anterior loreal in contact with the first labial; supranasals in contact behind the rostral; frontonasal broader than long, in contact with the truncate anterior angle of the frontal; latter shield as long as, or a little longer than, the frontoparietals and interparietal together, in contact with the second, or first and second, or second and third supraoculars; four supraoculars, second largest and but rarely touching the prsefrontal; five (rarely four or six) supraciliaries; frontoparietals two, smaller than the interparietal, which entirely separates the parietals; one (or two) pair of nuchals; four labials anterior to the subocular; latter not narrowed interiorly, about twice as large as the neighbouring labials. Ear-opening oval-subtrianguiar, about as large as a lateral scale, with two or three minute projecting lobules anteriorly. Dorsal scales more or less distinctly tricariuate, sometimes almost smooth; the scales on the neck and flanks smooth or very feebly keeled; 34 to 38 scales round the middle of the body; dorsals a little larger than laterals and ventrals. The adpressed limbs overlap. Subdigital lamellae smooth or obtusely unicarinate. Tail about once and a half as long as head and body. The coloration varies extremely, with complete gradation between the typical form from Abyssinia, with four longitudinal black bands along the back, to the var.fellowsii with regular black cross bars on the body. All specimens agree in the following points: Two bands, lighter than the ground-colour, which is brownish or greyish, extend along each side, the upper from the supraciliary border, the lower from below the eye; the interspace between these bands dark brown with small whitish spots, or irregularly spotted with darker brown; a narrow vertebral zone constantly remains unspotted; lower surfaces uniform whitish. In the Arabian specimen and in one of the Persian, the four blackish longitudinal bands are distinct on the nape. In the specimens from Asia Minor (var.fellowsii) longitudinal dark bands are absent, and the interspace between the three unspotted dorsal streaks is occupied by more or less regular dark brown cross bands [BOULENGER].

Widespread on large area of central Asia and Middle East, Arabian penninsula and coastal Eritrea. Massawa (Eritrea) is type locality. T. a. septemtaeniata.

It inhabit mostly in dry scrublands and semi-desert areas, rocky plains, abandoned gardens and stonewalls. It ovoviparous, female lays several youngs. They feed insects and other invertebrates. In the north area of distribution hibernate.

Previously as ssp.Trachylepis aurata septemtaeniata or Mabuya aurata septemtaeniata

Moravec, J. Franzen, M.. & Böhme, W. (2006). Notes on the taxonomy, nomenclature and distribution of the Trachylepis (formerly Mabuya) aurata (Linnaeus, 1758) complex. In: M. Vences, J. Kühler, T. Ziegler, W. Böhme (eds): Herpetologia Bonnensis II. Proceedings of the 13th Congress of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica. pp. 89-93.
Baran, I. & Atatür; M. K. (1998). Turkish Herpetofauna (Amphibians & Reptiles). Ministry of Environment, Ankara. 214 pp.
Karin, B.R., Metallinou, M., Weinell, J.L., Jackman, T.R., Bauer, A.M. 2016. Resolving the higher-order phylogenetic relationships of the circumtropical Mabuya group (Squamata: Scincidae): An out-of-Asia diversification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 102: 220–232

Description original:
Reuss,A. 1834. Zoologische Miscellen, Reptilien. Saurier. Batrachier. Museum Senckenbergianum, Frankfurt am Main 1 (6): 27-62

Common english name: Southern Grass Skink

Chalcides ocellatus (FORSKAL, 1775)

Short description:
A middle sized skink, with a wide variability of colors and sizes. Total lenght up to 300 mm, about half of the length created the strong tail. Cylindrical body, the limbs are short and weak. Head in proportion to body small. Dorsum brown or grey-brown, lateral darker stripe. Body covered with tiny bright and dark lined dots. The scales smooth, mid-body rows 26 - 32.

In Ethiopia, it is not too abundant, however he lives very hidden. He is known from central Ethiopia (Metahara, Mt. Fantale) and from north (Axum).

Day activity. He lives hidden in dry grassy and shrubby areas under stones, under tree trunks and on rocks slopes, often in the lava fields.
Female gives birth a relatively large number (up to 20) of the small juveniles. They move between the rocks and grass by sneaking motion, the limbs using only in very slow motion. It prey small insects and other arthropods.

Descriptione originale:
Forskål,P.: Descriptiones animalium, avium, amphibiorum, piscium, insectorum, vermium; quae in itinere Orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Mölleri, Hauniae, xxxiv + 164 pp.

Described as Lacerta ocellata
Common english name: Ocellated Skink

Chalcides ocellatus - habitat, Mt.Fantale, Shewa, C Ethiopia

Chalcides ragazzii BOULENGER, 1890

Short description:
24 scales round the body. Greyish above, with an indistinct paler dorso-lateral band, but without spots except on the sacral region, hind limbs, and tail, which are oeellated as in the typical form; confuent black spots form a lateral band extending from the nostril to above the axilla, passing through the eye and above the ear-opening. From snout to vent 83 mm, Infralabils 6-7, supralabials 6-7, ventrals 68-80. Total lenght up to 180 mm [according to BOULENGER].

In Ethiopia east and central (Harar, Addis Abeba, Debre Zeit, Jijiga).

Inhabits open grassland, shrubland and lava fields, from sea level (Assab, Eritrea) up to 2300 m. Day activity. He lives like other species of genus, hidden in the grass area, under rocks and in rocky screes, where it is not easy to find them. It prey small insects and other arthropods. Females give birth several youngs.

Description original:
Boulenger,G.A.: On the varieties of Chalcides ocellatus, Forsk. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 5: 444-445

Described as Chalcides ocellatus var. ragazzii
Common english name: Ragazzi's Bronze Skink

Chalcides ragazzii - habitat, S of Jijiga, E Ethiopia

Chalcides bottegi BOULENGER, 1898

Chalcides bottegi - Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Chalcides bottegi - Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Form and scaling as in Ch.ocellatus, but body more slender, more elongate, the distance between end of snout and fore limb being contained nearly three times in that between axilla and groin. Nostril pierced in advance of the suture between the rostral and the first labial; fifth labial entering the orbit. 24 scales round the body, the scales of the two dorsal series much enlarged, more than twice as broad as long. Body covered with black-and-white ocelli as in Ch.ocellatus; a dark brown dorsal stripe (occupying the two median rows of scales) separated from a blackish lateral stripe by a broad pale grey stripe; lips with black vertical bars; lower parts white. [Boulenger] Infralabialia 6, supralabialia 6, ventrals 81-92. Midbody rows 22-24.

In Ethiopia in western part of highland in low and middle altituds from Eritrea to Kenya.

The way of life is not much known. Daily activity. It inhabits open grasslands and dry savanna. Female     givebirth youngs, feeding on insects.

Description original:
Boulenger, G. A.: Concluding report on the late Capt. Bottego’s collection of reptiles and batrachians from Somaliland and British East Africa. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, (2) 18: 715-723 [1898]

Chalcides bottegi - habitat, near Bahir Dar, NW Ethiopia

Key of sub-Saharan species of genus Chalcides


1. Limbs tridactyl, less than six supralabials, less
than six infralabials, postnasal absent, more than
93 ventrals, more than 45 presacral vertebrae
(Gambia)--------------------------------------------------------------------C. armitagei
Limbs pentadactyl, six (or more) supralabials, six
infralabials, postnasal present, fewer than 93
ventrals, fewer than 45 presacral vertebrae ---------------------------------- 2
2. Vertebral scales extensively expanded (paravertebral
width/vertebral width , 0.9) ------------------------------------------------- 3
Vertebral scales not expanded, or only weakly
expanded (paravertebral width/vertebral width
. 0.9)------------------------------------------------------------------------ 5
3. Vertebral body stripe present, and brown spots
with white ocelli markings on body (eastern
Sudan to northern Kenya) ---------------------------------------------------C. bottegi
No vertebral body stripe, and no brown spots
with white ocelli markings on body ------------------------------------------- 4
4. Five phalanges in Toe IV, 22–24 scales at
midbody, 79–86 ventrals, 13–17 subdigital
lamellae under Toe IV, 37–42 presacral vertebrae,
brown spots of tail without white borders
(western Guinea to southeastern Senegal and
southeastern Mali) ----------------------------------------------------------C. pulchellus
Four phalanges in Toe IV, 20 (rarely 22) scales at
midbody, 85–91 ventrals, 9–13 subdigital lamellae
under Toe IV, 41–44 presacral vertebrae,
brown spots of tail usually with white borders
(northern Ghana to eastern Nigeria) -----------------------------------------C. thierryi
5. 22–26 scale rows at midbody, brown vertebral
stripe present and spanning 4 mid-dorsal scale
rows (Eritrea to northwestern Somalia) --------------------------------------C. ragazzii
26–32 scale rows at midbody; brown vertebral
stripe present and spanning 6 mid-dorsal scale
rows (Sahara and sub-Sahara) or absent (Somalia)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------C. ocellatus

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