Cryptoblepharus cygnatus — Swansons Snake-eyed Skink
After Horners recent revision of this genus, there are considered to be two Cryptoblepharus species in this area of Australia that are indistinguishable without careful examination of the undersides of their feet, C. cygnatus and C. metallicus. All of the ones I photographed in this area could be either species. I have arbitrarily identified them as C. cygnatus, to honor alphabetical order. If you know of a way to distinguish C. cygnatus from C. metallicus from photographs that dont include the bottom of the feet, please let me know.
Ive written up an account of this three-week trip to Australia here.
Almost all of the little Cryptoblepharus skinks that I saw were on tree trunks or large logs. Other little skinks, such as Carlia amax, occupied the nearby ground.
This is the heads-down position that these skinks would typically hold, presumably scouring the base of the tree for tasty tiny bugs. When spooked, the skinks dart high up the tree or under some loose bark.
This one might be thinking “"Hey, where did the rest of my tree go?”.
A couple more tree-dwellers in another Top End location.
- Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition
- Horner, P. 2007. Systematics of the snake-eyed skink genus Cryptoblepharus
- Wilson, S. and Swan, G. 2017. A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, Fifth Edition