sightings of the Prickly Forest Skink Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae
(Scincidae) out in the open during daylight.
Rob Valentic INTRODUCTION:
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
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
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
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 (17°19’S, 145°51’E).
OBSERVATION: Date: 18th May 1983 Time: 14:00 - 14:30hrs. Weather conditions:
Approximately 29°C, overcast with light showers. Habitat:
Closed canopy lowland rainforest with abundant vine thickets sloping
down to a waterfall.
total of seven G.
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.
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.
REFERENCES: 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,