Lizards > Skinks > Cape Legless Skink

Skinks (Scincidae; skinke, gladde akkedisse)

Cape Legless Skink / Kaapse Pootlose Skink

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Acontias meleagris

Size A medium-sized legless skink with adult snout-vent length in the region of 200-240 mm.

Description It lacks all traces of external limbs and has a short stubby tail. There are no external ear openings. It has movable, opaque lower eyelids and 3-4 supraciliary scales above each eye. There are three subocular scales and the second upper labial does not border the eye. The body scales are smooth, not enlarged on the belly, and arranged in 14-16 scale rows at midbody. The coloration is olive-brown, greyish-brown to a darker reddish-brown above, more or less uniform, or with a darker spot in the distal half of each scale, or yellow above with longitudinal series of transversely elongated dark spots. The darker dorsal side is usually sharply demarcated from the lighter yellowish-coloured ventral side.

Biology Like all African legless skinks, the Cape Legless Skink is a burrower and is normally found under stones or dead logs on loose soil in coastal and fynbos vegetation. It feeds on small soil invertebrates. It rarely drinks water and apparently obtains moisture from the surrounding soil and its food. The species is viviparous and gives birth to 2-4 young in late summer.

Distribution This species occurs along the southern coastal regions of the Western and Eastern Cape, with isolated populations along the Karoo escarpment.

Distribution in the GCBC Known records in the corridor are from the western coastal lowlands only.

Conservation status Not listed.

Threats None.

Current studies None.


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