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Three-banded Larut Skink

Species : Larutia trifasciata
Size (snout to vent) :
Females up to 16 cm, males up to 25 cm.
Size (total length) :
Females up to ~35 cm, males up to ~55 cm.

The Three-banded Larut Skink is a secretive lizard of montane forests in Peninsular Malaysia. It inhabits forest floor leaf-litter, soft soil and rotting vegetation beneath fallen trees. It is rarely seen, but may emerge on the surface after heavy rain.

As with all other species in the genus Larutia, its body is markedly elongate, slender and somewhat snake-like. Its limbs are greatly reduced, with only 2 digits remaining on each foot. Its tail is slightly longer than its head and body. The head is of the same width as its body, which is an adaptation to a burrowing lifestyle.

Its body is a rich, dark brown colour patterned with yellow speckles which may form broken stripes. There are three distinctive white or yellow bands on the head and neck.

When crawling slowly this species has been observed to use its short legs to aid movement, however when it moves rapidly the limbs are held against the side of the body and its movement is fully snake-like, with the limbs playing no role (Grismer, 2011).

This species has been found in upland areas of Peninsular Malaysia including Taman Negara, the Banjaran Timur mountains, Fraser's Hill and Cameron Highlands.

It appears to have adapted well to habitat changes in Cameron Highlands, where the forest has been extensively cleared and the land  converted to agriculture (Grismer, 2011). This implies that its prey persists in soft, farmland soils.

Figs 1 to 3 : Example from Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia (elevation = +/- 1000 metres). It was found crossing a forest road by day. Photos thanks to Morten Strange and Ng Bee Choo.

Fig 4 : Quiet, rural road through lower montane forest habitat at Fraser's Hill. The secretive Three-banded Larut Skink is occasionally seen crossing such roads.

References : H11



Fig 1
ゥ  Morten Strange / Ng Bee Choo
Fig 2
ゥ  Morten Strange / Ng Bee Choo
Fig 3
ゥ  Morten Strange / Ng Bee Choo

Fig 4