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More on the taxonomy of Lampropholis (Reptilia: Scincidae)


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Posted by Richard Wells on March 24, 2002 at 05:33:19:

Hello All,

Herein is another part of my revcent revision of the genus Lampropholis which appeared recently in the Australian Biodiversity Record, 2002 (8): 1-24

Best Regards from

Richard Wells


Friendly Skink
Adrasteia amicula (Ingram and Rawlinson, 1981)
The Friendly Skink (the name 'amicula', means 'friend', hence the common name) inhabits tall wet sclerophyll forest, closed dry rainforest, and subtropical lowland rainforest, and has been recorded from numerous places along the lower elevations of the Great Dividing Range and along coastal or near-coastal areas of south-eastern Queensland, and north-eastern New South Wales, to about as far south as the Hunter River. It is a secretive, diurnal species of moist sheltered sites in densely forested areas, and has been often found near thickly vegetated stream verges, where it lives amongst deep leaf-litter, as well as inside or under rotting logs. In general appearance, this is a very small, somewhat depressed skink, attaining a maximum total length of only around 70 mm., of which the snout-vent length comprises about 30 mm; the tail is long, fragile and round in section. The dorsum is rich brown, coppery-brown, or greyish-brown, with the head being a slightly darker brown. Overall the body and tail may be obscurely flecked or peppered with dark brown or black and these flecks may have a longitudinal alignment along the dorsum in some individuals. There is a thin pale yellow or creamish dorsolateral stripe running from the nape, along the body to about the base of the tail, and this dorsolateral line is thinly edged below with black; the line may continue along the tail as an irregular series of paler dashes or dots. The lateral of the body and head is darker than the dorsum, being blackish or very dark brown, progressively fading to greyish-brown towards the lower lateral and covered with a scattering of darker and paler dots on the scales. The limbs are blackish dorsally and paler brown underneath, and the palmer surfaces and subdigital lamellae are black; the labials are whitish with black spotting. Ventrally the body is greyish to whitish, with scattered black flecks, usually in obscure longitudinal lines beneath the throat, and as a series of transverse lines subcaudally. Some significant features of this species' morphology are as follows, but it should be noted that variation in its scalation suggests that this species may be composite: body scales smooth (but the mid-dorsal scales with 3-4 weak striations), in 19-23 rows at mid-body; frontoparietals fused; supraoculars 4; rostral-frontonasal suture wider than frontal; supralabials 7 (5th subocular); ear-opening present and conspicuous; lower eyelid movable, and with a palpebral disk, that is much smaller than the eye; supraciliaries 5-6 (usually 5); small, but well-developed pentadactyl limbs, that just overlap when adpressed; subdigital lamellae beneath 4th toe 17-21, smooth. This is an oviparous species, producing about 2 or 3 eggs in a clutch during mid-summer, which hatch in late summer or early autumn. It feeds only on small invertebrates and is regarded as common in the far north of its range, but uncommon in the south, where its status is virtually unknown. This southern population may be considered as potentially vulnerable due to its isolated distribution and specialised habitat requirements and it may even represent an undescribed species. It is protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992) and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Act (1974) [but not listed in that State as a Threatened Species in any of the Schedules of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995)].

Tussock Grass Skink
Adrasteia caligula (Ingram and Rawlinson, 1981)
The Tussock Grass Skink is another secretive, diurnal species that has only been infrequently found. It lives within dense clumps of tussock grass or sedges along the verges of streams and swampland in relatively cooler areas of higher altitude, montane snow-gum woodland and cooler wet sclerophyll forest. The total known distribution is very restricted, ranging from isolated parts of the Great Dividing Range in mid-eastern New South Wales in the vicinity of Barrington Tops in the east, Ben Hall State Forest in the north, to Coolah Tops in the west. In general form, this is another small, slightly depressed lizard, attaining a maximum total length of around 100 mm., and a snout-vent length of about 45 mm; the tail is long, fragile and round in section as in other members of this genus. The dorsum is dull brown, greyish-brown or coppery-brown, with the head being a slightly more golden- or coppery-brown with scattered black flecking. Overall, the body and tail may be obscurely and sparsely flecked or peppered with black and these markings may be occasionally aligned longitudinally. There is a thin pale creamish dorsolateral stripe running from the nape, along the body to about the base of the tail, and this dorsolateral line is thinly edged below with black. The dorsolateral line may continue along the tail as an obscure and irregular series of paler dashes or dots, and below, on the side of the tail, there may be two or three thin black lines present. The lateral of the body and head is slightly darker than the dorsum, being blackish or very dark brown, progressively fading to greyish-brown towards the lower lateral and covered with a scattering of darker and paler dots on the scales; there is a short black streak between the snout and the eye as well. The limbs are blackish dorsally with paler flecking, and paler brown underneath, and the palmer surfaces and subdigital lamellae are black. Ventrally the body is greyish-cream, with scattered dark brown flecks, and blackish under the tail. Some significant features of this species' morphology are: body scales smooth (but the mid dorsal scales with 3-4 weak striations), in 19-23 rows at mid-body; frontoparietals fused; supraoculars 3; rostral-frontonasal suture wider than frontal; supralabials usually 6 (5th subocular); ear opening present and conspicuous; lower eyelid movable, and with a palpebral disk, that is much smaller than the eye; supraciliaries 5-6 (usually 5); small, but well-developed pentadactyl limbs, that just overlap when adpressed; subdigital lamellae beneath 4th toe 17-22, smooth. This is an oviparous species, producing only 2 eggs in a clutch, and its diet is restricted to tiny invertebrates that live amongst the tussock grass of its habitat. At present the survival status of this species is unknown, but it may be considered as potentially vulnerable due to its fragmented distribution and specialised habitat requirements. Protected under the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Act (1974) but not listed in that State as a Threatened Species in any of the Schedules of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995). Etymology: The name 'caligula' recalls the infamous Roman Emperor.
Elongate Grass Skink
Adrasteia elongata (Greer, 1997)

This small skink is most closely related to Adrasteia caligula, but Adrasteia elongata differs in its reduced head shields and reduced phalangeal formula on the forelimbs and hindlimbs. The name 'elongata' means 'elongate or thin' and refers to the attenuate body-form of the species which is also diagnostic for the species. The Elongate Grass Skink is a diurnal but very secretive species that usually shelters within dense clumps of tussock grass or beneath small rocks and rotting logs, in relatively cooler, higher altitude areas (between 1180 and 1450 metres elevation). It has been found mainly in open grassy clearings or on the verges of montane eucalypt woodland with a dense ground cover of tussock grasses on both granite and basalt-derived soils. As presently understood, this is one of the most restricted species known from New South Wales having been only detected from two localities about 50 km S. of Walcha, on the Great Dividing Range, in the north-eastern part of the State. The body-form is somewhat depressed and distinctly elongate, the tail long, fragile and round in section, the snout bluntly rounded and the head barely distinct from the neck. It may attain a maximum total length of around 115 mm., and a snout-vent length of about 55 mm. The dorsum is dull brown or coppery-brown, with the head being a slightly paler with faint scattered black flecking. Overall, the dorsal and lateral parts of the body have a series of obscure dark flecks and longitudinal pale and dark stripes formed by lines of dashes on the body scales. The most prominent is a broad dark brown dorsolateral stripe running from just behind the eye, along the neck, and the body to well onto the tail, and this line is thinly edged above and below with blackish or very dark brown stripes. Below this broad lateral stripe, there may be a row of dark dashes or even another dark lateral stripe, separated by a pale interspace that appears as a light stripe itself. On the lower lateral part of the body there may also be one, or occasionally two, obscure pale stripes, and each may have dark brownish or blackish edging. The palmer surfaces and subdigital lamellae are dark greyish or light brown and the iris golden. Ventrally greyish-cream, with scattered dark brown or blackish flecks forming a vague reticulated effect, and blackish under the tail; males have a bronze hue to the venter, but this is not present in females. Some significant features of this species' morphology are: body scales smooth in 20-22 rows at mid-body; paravertebrals 58-65; nuchals 2; frontoparietals fused; interparietal distinct, and smaller than frontal; parietals in contact behind interparietal; parietal eye distinct; prefrontals small and widely separated; supranasals absent; frontonasal much broader than long; supraoculars 3 (first 2 in contact with frontal); frontal longer than broad; nasals widely separated; nostril just posterior to centre of nasal; supralabials 6-7 (usually 6, and usually 4th subocular); infralabials 6 (first 2 in contact with postmental); post supralabials 1-2 (usually 1); pretemporals 2; postoculars 4; primary temporals 1; secondary temporals 2; ear opening present and conspicuous, but much smaller than eye; no ear lobules; lower eyelid movable, and with a palpebral disk, that is much smaller than the eye; presuboculars 1; supraciliaries 5-6 (usually 5); loreals 2; preoculars 2; subocular scale row incomplete; mental broader than long; postmental broader than long; small, but well-developed pentadactyl limbs, that are widely non-overlapping when adpressed; supradigital scales 8-10; subdigital lamellae beneath 4th toe 13-17, smooth; presacral vertebrae 41-42; phalangeal formula 2.3.4.4.3/2.3.4.4.3. This is an oviparous species, producing up to 6 eggs in a clutch (but usually only 4), about late Spring-early Summer (November-December), and these hatch in late Summer after about 1 month incubation (in January). Its diet solely comprises small invertebrates that live in the tussock grass and ground litter. Its survival status is unknown, but it may be considered as potentially vulnerable due to its very restricted distribution and specialised habitat requirements. Protected under the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Act (1974) but not listed in that State as a Threatened Species in any of the Schedules of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995).

Helioscincus gen. nov.

[Type Species: Lampropholis mirabilis Ingram and Rawlinson, 1981 - Five new species of skinks (genus Lampropholis) from Queensland and New South Wales. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 20: 311-317].
Diagnosis: A monotypic genus of small rock-dwelling lizards of the family Scincidae, readily identified by the following combination of characters: head relatively small with a pointed snout, robust but somewhat depressed body with long limbs and a long tapering tail that is round in section; body scales smooth, in 30-32 (usually 30) rows at mid-body (vs usually 26-28 in Ndurascincus gen. nov., 27-28 in Lampropholis, and usually only 22 in Adrasteia gen. nov.); paravertebrals 54-60; nuchals 2-4 (usually 2); frontoparietals fused; rostral-frontonasal suture about as wide as frontal; supraoculars 4; interparietal small and distinct; parietals in contact behind interparietal; ear-opening present and conspicuous; supralabials 7 (5th subocular); infralabials 6; lower eyelid movable, and with a palpebral disk, that is much smaller than the eye; supraciliaries 5-8 (usually 7, vs usually 5 in Adrasteia gen. nov., or usually 6 or 7 in Lampropholis); presuboculars 1 (vs usually 2 in Ndurascincus gen. nov.); relatively long, well-developed pentadactyl limbs, that strongly overlap when adpressed (vs just overlapping or barely contacting in Lampropholis, strongly overlapping in Ndurascincus gen. nov. and widely non-overlapping in Adrasteia gen. nov.); supradigital scales 15-19 (usually 13-17, vs usually 9-11 in Ndurascincus gen. nov. and Adrasteia gen. nov.); subdigital lamellae beneath 4th toe 29-33, smooth; all digits strongly clawed. Attains a maximum snout-vent length of around 50 mm. Additional to the above combination of character states, in Helioscincus there is a lower average presacral vertebral number (usually 26, as in Ndurascincus gen. nov., vs usually about 27 in Lampropholis, or usually 28-31 in Adrasteia gen. nov.). The body-form in Helioscincus is accordingly much more depressed and the limbs longer than in either Ndurascincus gen. nov., Lampropholis or Adrasteia gen. nov. Content: Helioscincus mirabilis (Ingram and Rawlinson, 1981). Etymology: 'Helioscincus' in effect means 'skink of the sun', and is derived from 'Helios', God of the Sun in Greek mythology.


Spotted Boulder Skink
Helioscincus mirabilis (Ingram and Rawlinson, 1981)

The Spotted Boulder Skink is a highly active lizard inhabiting tropical monsoon vine forest and rainforest, and adjacent thick woodland - but always in association with rock outcrops. It is a diurnal, terrestrial and strictly saxacoline species that forages over granite boulders and amongst leaf-litter at the bases of outcrops in heavily-shaded rainforest clearings and shelters in rock crevices and exfoliated slabs on the sides of larger boulders. The known distribution is very restricted, being only found over a small part of mid-eastern Queensland, centred on Magnetic Island and the adjacent mainland around Townsville. This is a small species having a robust, but somewhat depressed body-form, a relatively short head with a pointed snout, and a long tapering tail that is round in section. It attains a maximum total length of around 130 mm., with a snout-vent length of about 50 mm. The base colour of the dorsum of the body and tail is greyish-brown to olive-grey, with the head being bronze-brown. Pattern comprises a complex scattering of small chocolate-brown blotches and tiny white spots on the body, limbs and basal part of the tail. Small brownish bars on the lateral part of the body tend to have a vertical alignment and the lower parts may be streaked with paler and darker markings. Ventrally, the body and tail is whitish. Some significant features of this species' morphology are: body scales smooth, in 30-32 (usually 30) rows at mid-body (vs usually 26-28 in Ndurascincus species, 27-28 in Lampropholis species, and usually only 22 in Adrasteia species); paravertebrals 54-60; nuchals 2-4 (usually 2); frontoparietals fused; rostral-frontonasal suture about as wide as frontal; supraoculars 4; interparietal small and distinct; parietals in contact behind interparietal; ear-opening present and conspicuous; supralabials 7 (5th subocular); infralabials 6; lower eyelid movable, and with a palpebral disk, that is much smaller than the eye; supraciliaries 5-8 (usually 7, vs usually 5 in Adrasteia species, or usually 6 or 7 in Lampropholis species); presuboculars 1 (vs usually 2 in Ndurascincus species); relatively long, well-developed pentadactyl limbs, that strongly overlap when adpressed (vs just overlapping or barely contacting in Lampropholis species, strongly overlapping in Ndurascincus species and widely non-overlapping in Adrasteia species); supradigital scales 15-19 (usually 13-17, vs usually 9-11 in Ndurascincus species and Adrasteia species); subdigital lamellae beneath 4th toe 29-33, smooth; all digits strongly clawed. Additional to the above combination of character states, in Helioscincus mirabilis there is a lower average presacral vertebral number (usually 26, as in Ndurascincus species, vs usually about 27 in Lampropholis species, or usually 28-31 in Adrasteia species). The body-form in Helioscincus is accordingly much more depressed and the limbs longer than in any species of the genera Ndurascincus, Lampropholis or Adrasteia. It is oviparous, producing up to 3 eggs in a clutch, and the diet comprises small invertebrates and although regarded as locally common, may be classed as vulnerable given its restricted distribution. Protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992).

Ndurascincus gen. nov.

[Type Species: Lampropholis adonis Ingram, 1991 - Five new skinks from Queensland rainforests. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 30 (3): 443-453]. Diagnosis: As presently defined, a genus of small oviparous, terrestrial and rainforest-inhabiting lizards of the family Scincidae, readily identified by the following combination of characters: body scales smooth, in 26-30 rows at mid-body; paravertebral scales 49-57; nuchals 1-4 (but usually 2); interparietal and frontoparietals are either fused together forming a single scale, or with a very small separate interparietal; supraoculars 4; lower eyelid movable with a transparent palpebral disk; presuboculars 1-2 (but usually 2, vs usually 1 in Helioscincus gen. nov., Lampropholis and Adrasteia gen. nov.); supraciliaries 7-8 (but usually 7, vs usually 5 in Adrasteia gen. nov.); ear-opening present, but small; limbs small, just overlapping when adpressed, but well-developed and pentadactyl; supradigital scales on 4th toe 9-13; subdigital lamellae 19-26. Additional to the above combination of character states, in Ndurascincus gen. nov. the mid-body scale rows (usually about 26-28) are usually much higher than in Adrasteia gen. nov. species (usually only around 22), but lower than in Helioscincus gen. nov. (usually about 30). The supradigital scales are lower in Ndurascincus gen. nov. (usually about 9-11) than in Helioscincus gen. nov. or Lampropholis species (usually about 13-17 in both genera). Further, Ndurascincus gen. nov. has a lower average presacral vertebral count of usually only around 26, in comparison to usually 27 in Lampropholis or usually 28-31 in Adrasteia gen. nov.. Of some interest is that in Ndurascincus gen. nov. the interparietal and frontoparietals are either fused together forming a single scale (as in Ndurascincus adonis), or separate, with a reduced or fragmented interparietal (as in coggeri, couperi and robertsi), whereas in Adrasteia gen. nov. the interparietal scale is proportionally larger and always distinct. Colouration and patterning of species of Ndurascincus gen. nov. may be superficially similar to some populations of Lampropholis delicata, but the body-form in Ndurascincus gen. nov. is slightly more robust and much less elongate than in Adrasteia gen. nov.. Content: Ndurascincus adonis (Ingram, 1991); Ndurascincus coggeri (Ingram, 1991); Ndurascincus couperi (Ingram, 1991); Ndurascincus robertsi (Ingram, 1991). Etymology: 'Ndurascincus' in effect means 'skink of the jungle', referring to the species' preferences for rainforest habitats. The name is derived from the language of the Pygmies of Central Africa - 'Ndura' meaning 'The Jungle', and this concept is the nearest thing that the Pygmies have to a God. The tribal Pygmies have no laws, no man-made rules, no priests, no leaders, no classes, no taxes, and no politics. Their society is intricately entwined with the natural ecosystem in which they live.

Ingram's Litter Skink
Ndurascincus adonis (Ingram, 1991)

This is a small terrestrial skink of eastern Australian rainforests that may attain a maximum total length of around 110 mm., and a snout-vent length about 55 mm. Ingram's Litter Skink is diurnal and may be found basking in leaf-litter on the ground near fallen trees, logs or around the bases of tree trunks, and most sites are in sheltered, or well-shaded situations along the edges and clearings of heavily forested habitats. It only occurs along the mid-eastern to south-eastern coast and adjacent ranges of Queensland, preferring notophyll vine forest and other rainforest associations as a habitat. In colouration and patterning this species is very similar to some populations of Lampropholis delicata, but the body form in Ndurascincus adonis is slightly more robust than any species of Lampropholis. Some significant features of this species' morphology are: body scales smooth, in 26-30 rows at mid-body; paravertebral scales 49-55; nuchals 2-4 (usually 2); interparietal and frontoparietals are fused together forming a single scale; supraoculars 4; lower eyelid movable with a transparent palpebral disk; presuboculars 2; supraciliaries 7-8 (usually 7); ear-opening present, but small; limbs small, just overlapping when adpressed, but well-developed and pentadactyl; supradigital scales on 4th toe 10-13; subdigital lamellae 20-26. This species is oviparous, with up to 3 eggs being laid in a clutch; it has also been recorded as a communal egg-layer. A mass of 53 eggs of this species was discovered between sheets of discarded corrugated iron on the ground at Bulburin State Forest, Qld. The eggs had been laid amidst insect frass and decaying vegetation that had accumulated between the sheets of tin in a well-shaded clearing in complex notophyll vine forest. Seven of the eggs were measured, then incubated until hatched to verify their specific identity. Egg length ranged from 9.54 to 10.76 mm (mean 9.91) and egg width ranged from 7.07 to 7.94 (mean 7.61). The eggs hatched on 25-26 January 1995. The hatchlings SVL ranged in size from 17.1 to 20.4 mm (mean 18.9 mm), and the total length ranged from 39.8 to 43.2 mm (mean 41.6 mm). The diet is restricted to tiny invertebrates of the leaf-litter, decaying vegetation and around rotting logs. Although populations appear fairly restricted to isolated wet-forest environments, this is nevertheless a common species wherever it occurs. It is protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992). The name Ďadonisí recalls Adonis of Greek mythology who was the God of Vegetation and the centre of a widespread nature cult (Adonis or more accurately Adon or Adonai was actually an ancient Semitic god of the forests that was later appropriated by the Greeks).

Cogger's Litter Skink
Ndurascincus coggeri (Ingram, 1991)

A very common, highly active lizard that lives mainly in sheltered, or well-shaded situations along the edges and clearings of rainforest, this speciesí name honours Australian herpetologist, Harold G. Cogger. Its entire distribution is restricted to patches or fragments of tropical rainforest in far north-eastern Queensland, from about Cooktown in the north to Townsville in the south (it is also known from Palm Island, on the Great Barrier Reef). It is diurnal in habit and basks on leaf-litter or amidst forest debris along the margins of forest. In general appearance, Cogger's Litter Skink is a small terrestrial skink that may also superficially resemble Lampropholis delicata, but close inspection shows that it differs from that species in its scalation, colouration and its much smaller size. Actually, the colouration and patterning are only somewhat similar to some populations of Lampropholis delicata, being mainly reddish-brown dorsally with faint spotting or flecking and blackish longitudinal dashes. In Ndurascincus coggeri however, there is no clear line of demarcation with its lateral colouration - there is a gradual merging of the darker upper lateral with the paler lower lateral pattern - whereas in Lampropholis delicata there is a distinct midlateral line or area of demarcation between the two zones. Some significant features of this species' morphology are: body scales smooth, in 26-30 rows at mid-body; paravertebral scales 49-57; nuchals 1-4 (usually 2); interparietal and frontoparietals separate; supraoculars 4; lower eyelid movable with a transparent palpebral disk; presuboculars 1-2 (usually 2); supraciliaries 7-8 (usually 7); ear-opening present, but small; limbs small, just overlapping when adpressed, but well-developed and pentadactyl; supradigital scales on 4th toe 10-11; subdigital lamellae 19-25. Reaches a maximum snout-vent length of about 45 mm., but around 35 mm. would be an average-sized adult. This species is oviparous, producing up to 3 eggs in a clutch, and its diet is restricted to tiny invertebrates of the leaf-litter, decaying vegetation and around rotting logs. Although this is believed to be a common species wherever it occurs, its survival status is unknown, and this species may be considered as potentially vulnerable in some parts of its range due to its fragmented distribution. Protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992).
Couper's Litter Skink
Ndurascincus couperi (Ingram, 1991)

This species has quite a large distribution along south-eastern coastal Queensland, being known from about Rockhampton in the north to near Brisbane (Mount Glorious area) in the south. It inhabits the margins and clearings of subtropical rainforest communities, where it lives in sheltered, or well-shaded situations along the edges and clearings of densely forested areas. It is diurnal in habit and basks on leaf litter or amidst forest debris. Named for herpetologist, Patrick J. Couper of Queensland, this small terrestrial skink is another of those distinctive little rainforest lizards that may be confused with that other ubiquitous litter skink Lampropholis delicata. As in its congenors, Couper's Litter Skink differs from that species in its scalation and colouration. The dorsum of Ndurascincus couperi is olive-brownish in colour and there is no clear line of demarcation with its lateral colouration - there is a gradual merging of the darker upper lateral with the paler lower lateral pattern. In Lampropholis delicata there is a distinct midlateral line of demarcation between the two zones. Couperís Litter Skink only reaches a maximum snout-vent length of about 40 mm., but around 35 mm. would be an average-sized adult, making it similar in size to most of the other litter skinks. Some significant features of this species' morphology are: body scales smooth, in 25-26 rows at mid-body; paravertebral scales 50-53; nuchals 2; interparietal and frontoparietals separate; supraoculars 4; lower eyelid movable with a transparent palpebral disk; presuboculars 2; supraciliaries 7; ear-opening present, but small; limbs small, just overlapping when adpressed, but well-developed and pentadactyl; supradigital scales on 4th toe 10-11; subdigital lamellae 20-23. Couperís Litter Skink is known to be oviparous, but its reproductive biology is otherwise virtually unknown. It feeds only on tiny invertebrates which it forages for in the leaf-litter. Despite the fact that it is believed to be a relatively common species within its habitat, its fragmented distribution may cause it to be considered as potentially vulnerable in some parts of its range until its survival status is better known. Protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992).

Roberts' Litter Skink
Ndurascincus robertsi (Ingram, 1991)

This tiny lizard is confined to a very small area of north-eastern Queensland, from about Thornton Peak in the north, to Mount Bartle Frere in the south where it is restricted to a montane rainforest communities on isolated mountain tops. It is a diurnal species that basks on leaf-litter in well-shaded situations in cool wet habitats, and was named for journalist and naturalist Greg Roberts of Queensland. It is another small terrestrial skink superficially similar to Lampropholis delicata, but readily differing from that species in its colour pattern and scalation. As in L. delicata, the dorsum of N. robertsi is brownish in colour. However, N. robertsi is greyish ventrally with a dense blackish flecking or spotting on the chin, throat, posterior venter and subcaudal areas, whereas the venter is whitish in Lampropholis delicata. As in Lampropholis delicata, N. robertsi also has a distinct midlateral line of demarcation in the pattern of the lateral zone, but there is no clear line of demarcation along this area in its congenors N. couperi and N. coggeri. In these species there is a gradual merging of the darker upper lateral with the paler lower lateral pattern. Some significant features of this species' morphology are: body scales smooth, in 26-30 rows at mid-body; paravertebral scales 49-56; nuchals 2-3 (usually 2); interparietal and frontoparietals separate; supraoculars 4; lower eyelid movable with a transparent palpebral disk; presuboculars 2; supraciliaries 7; ear-opening present, but small; limbs small, just overlapping when adpressed, but well-developed and pentadactyl; supradigital scales on 4th toe 9-12; subdigital lamellae 21-24. Reaches a maximum snout-vent length of about 50 mm., but around 40 mm. would be an average-sized adult. Generally, the body form of Ndurascincus robertsi is slightly smaller than that of L. delicata. Roberts' Litter Skink is oviparous, producing up to 3 eggs in a clutch, and feeds only on tiny invertebrates of the leaf-litter, decaying vegetation and around rotting logs. Its survival status is unknown, but as populations are restricted to isolated rainforest-covered mountain peaks, it may be considered as potentially vulnerable due to its limited and fragmented distribution and specialised habitat requirements. This is nevertheless a common species wherever it occurs. Protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992).

Acknowledgements
Dean Metcalfe and Alex Dudley provided helpful comments on this proposed re-arrangement of the genus Lampropholis and their assistance is greatly appreciated.


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