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Swamp Skink (Singapore)
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5



 

Family : SCINCIDAE
Species : Tytthoscincus cf. sibuensis
Size (snout to vent) : ~ 3 cm
Size (total length) : ~ 6 cm

This small, highly elusive skink from Singapore, is generally encountered next to shallow streams. It favours freshwater swamp forest habitat, and it is likely that it spends much of its time hidden beneath leaf litter and is only discovered when accidentally disturbed. It is a strong swimmer, and readily takes to the water to flee from any threat.

Measuring an estimated 3 cm snout-to-vent, and around 6 cm total length, this species has yet to be scientifically named or described in any detail.

Little is known of its ecology, but there is a record of the species having been predated by a Big-eye Green Whip Snake Ahaetulla mycterizans.

This skink may be the same species as Tytthoscincus sibuensis (Sibu Island Forest Skink) which occurs on the island of Pulau Sibu, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia, however further study is needed to confirm whether this is the case.


Fig 1 : Swamp Skink partly immersed in a shallow stream filled with leaf-litter : the eyes and nostrils are above the water surface.

Fig 2 : Microhabitat of the specimen above - a clear, shallow stream in a localized area of freshwater swamp.

Fig 3 : Side view of the same specimen : note the tiny limbs and feet which are typical of the genus.

Figs 4 and 5 : Juvenile specimen, with head-body length of less than 2 cm.

All photos from Singapore.


Reference :

Grismer, L., Muin, M. A., Wood, P. L. Jr. & Anuar, S. (2016). The transfer of two clades of Malaysian Sphenomorphus Fitzinger (Squamata: Scincidae) into the genus Tytthoscincus Linkem, Diesmos, & Brown and the description of a new Malaysian swamp-dwelling species. Zootaxa, 4092(2), 231-242.