Fourteenlined comb eared skink

Ctenotus quattuordecimlineatus

SUBFAMILY

Lygosominae

TAXONOMY

Ctenotus quattuordecimlineatus Sternfeld, 1919, Hermannsburg Mission, Upper Finke River, Northern Territory.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

These relatively small, sleek diurnal skinks have 14 pale longitudinal lines on a darker body background. In all species of Ctenotus, which translates "comb ear," several scales protrude backward on the anterior edge of the external ear opening.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is a moderately sized, elongated, slender, short-limbed skink. The color varies from gray to olive brown, sometimes greenish and occasionally dotted with white or cream spots, especially in juveniles. The tail is slightly less than or about equal to the snout to vent length.

DISTRIBUTION

It occurs in Western and South Australia, the southern portion of the Northern Territory, and western Queensland.

HABITAT

This skink inhabits semiarid heaths, woodlands, shrublands, coastal dunes, and red, sandy deserts vegetated with spinifex grasses.

BEHAVIOR

In sandy deserts these secretive lizards spend most of their time within large Triodia grass tussocks. In other habitats, they hide in leaf litter or under fallen bushes and trees. They are crepuscular and nocturnal.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The species feeds primarily on a variety of arthropods but also occasionally eats snails and small lizards.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

These are live bearers, typically with litter sizes of two to three large young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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