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Chalcides ocellatus (Ocellated Skink / Benekli Kertenkele)

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Chalcides ocellatus (Ocellated Skink / Benekli Kertenkele)

Chalcides ocellatus (Ocellated Skink / Benekli Kertenkele) from Kantara Castle, Kyrenia / Girne, TRN Cyprus / KKTC - 14.04.2008.

Chalcides ocellatus / Ocellated Skink / Benekli Kertenkele [Adult / Erişkin] from Halfeti, Şanlıurfa.


This skink is a rather stout, thick-necked glossy species with a total length up to 20 cm (even 30 cm in N Africa). Limbs were well-developed and fingers were not reduced. Eyes are of moderate size with well-developed movable eyelids: a transparent disc in lower eyelid. Rostral plate is in contact with nostrils which positoned over the suture between rostral and 1st labial plates; ear opening more or less distinct and triangular in shape. It is situated behind the commissure of the mouth. An average of 28-32 rows (ranging from 24 to 40) of smooth or slightly ridged scales around the midbody. Original tail is nearly equal to body length, however many animals posses a regenerated tail, which is usually shorter. The dorsum is light brown or gray, overlaid by blackish dark spots with white centers, i.e. “ocelli”, arranged in irregular cross-bands. This ocellated pattern is absent in some specimens and also in juveniles. The belly is immaculate, dirty white.

Ocellated skink is a diurnal, secretive terrestrial species. Typically it is found in sandy-pebbly places near beaches, grassy-scrubby slopes in lowlands and hides in crevices of stone walls or in holes in the ground; may also burrow swiftly in sand. It utilizes short and relatively weak limbs during slow motion, but also uses the agile, snake like movements of its body during more speedy locomotion. Food comprises a wide spectrum of invertebrates, depending on seasonal availability and habitat. A viviparous species, females give birth usually to 2-10 juveniles, occasionally more.

Its range includes N Africa, some Mediterranean islands, including Cyprus and W Asia (S Turkey -along with the coastal strip to Kusadasi, Izmir-, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates) with a vertical distribution to 1200 m. Numerious subspecies were described in its wide distribution area. However, it is represented with the nominate subspecies, Chalcides ocellatus ocellatus in Cyprus and adjacent mainland countries and encountered in Messoaria plateau frequently in Northern Cyprus. The local name “Bizaska” (“stripped”) is usually used for both Banded Skink (Trachylepis vitata) and Ocellated Skink (Chalcides ocellatus).

 References:  1. Göçmen, B. (Unpub. results). The results of herpetological trips. 2. Budak, A. & Göçmen, B. (2005). Herpetology. Ege Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 194, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 226 pp. [2nd Edition, 2008]. 3. Atatür, M. K & Göçmen, B. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Cyprus (1st Edition), Ege Üniversitesi, Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 170, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 63 pp. 4. Mermer, A., Göçmen, B. & Tok, C. V. (1996). On the Samples of Chalcides ocellatus Forskal, 1775 (Sauria: Scincidae) From Northern Cyprus. Doga-Tr. J. of Zoology, 20 (suppl.): 265-269.5. Göçmen, B., Tok, C. V., Kaya, U. & Tosunoglu, M. (1996). A Preliminary Report On the Herpetofauna of Northern Cyprus. Turk. J. Zoology, 20 (suppl.): 161-176.


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Author Bayram GÖÇMEN
Created on Monday 14 April 2008
Posted on Sunday 06 February 2011
Tags CYPRUS / KIBRIS, Kyrenia / Girne
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