Species: Adelaide pygmy bluetongue skink (Tiliqua adelaidensis)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The Adelaide pygmy bluetongue skink shelters in burrows created by spiders!
Surprisingly, the tongue of this skink is not blue as the name suggests, but is instead a rose pink colour. The mottled mixture of browns on the rest of its body enables this species to blend in perfectly with its surroundings in its native Australian habitat. During the heat of the day, the Adelaide pygmy bluetongue skink shelters in holes that, rather than being excavated by the skink itself, are quarried by wolf spiders and trapdoor spiders. From here, the skink can hide from predators as well as ambush passing prey. The diet of this skink consists mainly of a wide range of invertebrates, such as spiders, grasshoppers, cockroaches and ants, but it will also feed on plants. The female Adelaide pygmy bluetongue skink does not lay eggs, but gives birth to live young.
The Adelaide pygmy bluetongue skink is one of the rarest of Australia’s reptiles, and was presumed to be extinct for 33 years. Extensive habitat destruction is thought to be to blame for its decline, and a recovery plan has been introduced with the overall objective of achieveing down-listing of the species from Endangered to Vulnerable within 10 years.
Learn more about the conservation of the Adelaide pygmy bluetongue skink from the Australian Government.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author