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Additional sightings of the Prickly Forest Skink Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae 

(Scincidae) out in the open during daylight.

By Rob Valentic

Michael Anthony has reported two Prickly Forest Skinks Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae in the open during a rainforest walk at Lamb’s Head, north Queensland (Anthony, 1994).  The lizards were observed on January 16th at approximately 10:00hrs and 17:00hrs respectively.  It is assumed by myself that Anthony’s observations were made during fine weather as he stated: ‘These animals (referring to Lampropholis coggeri) were commonly sighted active in sunny patches of leaf-litter along the edges of the track’.  The authors of some recent works wrote the following of the activity patterns of G. queenslandiae - “crepuscular and nocturnal” (Wilson and Knowles, 1992); “a nocturnal, cryptozoic lizard” (Cogger, 1992); “it forages secretively by day and more openly by night” (Ehmann, 1992).  The following part of this note reports an observation of five individual G. queenslandiae seen in the open during the early afternoon at Josephine Falls, Bellenden Ker National Park, north Queensland (1719’S, 14551’E).
Date: 18th May 1983
Time: 14:00 - 14:30hrs.
Weather conditions:  Approximately 29C, overcast with light showers.
Habitat:  Closed canopy lowland rainforest with abundant vine thickets sloping down to a waterfall.
Notes:  A total of seven G. queenslandiae were located sheltering beneath rotting logs and rocks.  A further lizard was sighted within a narrow rock crevice adjacent to the falls.  All cover inspected was situated alongside the walking track leading down to the waterfall.  An additional five G. queenslandiae were observed stationary atop exposed areas of leaf litter on the edge of the path, retiring swiftly from view into the leaf-litter layer.

The light conditions inside the rainforest canopy during the above observations were very subdued due to the overcast and rainy weather.  Such conditions mimic twilight and it appears the behaviour of the above lizards is consistent with a crepuscular mode of activity.  Further investigation is required to determine just what other environmental conditions act as stimuli for activity in G. queenslandiae during the daytime.

Anthony, M. 1994.  Herpetological Society Walk to Lamb’s Head.  Chondro - Journal of the Cape York Herpetological Society 2 (1): 8-9.
Cogger, H.G. 1992.  Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 5th edition.  Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW, Australia 755pp.
Ehmann, H. 1992.  Encyclopedia of Australian Animals - Reptiles.  Collins/Angus and Robertson Pty Ltd, Pymble, NSW, Australia. 495pp.
Wilson, S.K. and Knowles, D. 1992.  Australia’s Reptiles - A Photographic Guide to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia.  Collins/Angus and Robertson Pty Ltd, Pymble, NSW, Australia. 447pp.