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Eumeces schneiderii ssp. (Schneideri’s Skink / Sarı Kertenkele, Keçemen)

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Eumeces schneiderii ssp. (Schneideri’s Skink / Sarı Kertenkele, Keçemen)

Eumeces schneiderii ssp. (Schneideri’s Skink / Sarı Kertenkele, Keçemen) from Çayırova, Gazimagosa/Famagusta, KKTC/TRN Cyprus - 15.04.2008.

Schneideri’s Skink is one of the largest skink, with well-developed limbs and not reduced fingers. It is also the largest lizard, reaching a maximum length of around 35-40 cm, exceptionally even more. Original tail is around 1.5 times SVL; many individuals posses a shorter regenerated tail. Its range extends from N Africa, Anatolia, Cyprus Island to W and Middle Asia with a vertical distribution to 1800 m.

The robust head is triangular, not distinct from neck. Rostral plate does not contact external nares; Nasal plates are in contact with the two anterior supralabials. Eyes are relatively large, with well-developed movable eyelids and the lower eyelid with scales; Ear opening anteriorly partly covered by 3-4 enlarged lobular scales, called as Auriculum. The most distinctive characteristic of the species is a striking longitudinal orange or yellowish band usually present on the flanks.

General coloration and pattern change in different subspecies -[E. s.schneiderii, E. s. pavimentatus, E. s. princeps, E. s. barani, all of them, except E. s. schneiderii, found in Turkey]-; brownish, greyish or olive grey above, with a yellow to orange lateral stripe starting from posterior supralabials and running from the head to sides of the tail. Dorsal pattern consists of bright orange interspersed scales, which can fuse and form incomplete crossbars. On the dorsum of the tail, orange scales often fuse. Similarly, orange scales are scattered on limbs. Belly is whitish to yellowish.

Schneideri’s Skink is a diurnal terrestrial lizard. it can be found basking near its shelters. It is a rather shy lizard, difficult to approach as it runs for rather long distances and then retreats in dense bushes, under stones, or in burrows, when disturbed. Food consists of a wide spectrum of large invertebrates, mostly of orthopterans and beetles. Oviparous. We observed that the females are guarded the eggs during the incubation period in captivity. Inhabits bushy open places with rocky substrates, and gardens. Hides under stones, in holes and burrows dug by itself or other burrowing animals. Feeds on insects, other invertebrates and lizards.

In Cyprus, the nominate race (?), E. schneiderii schneiderii, an endemic subspecies (species?), lives. This species faces a serious threat of extinction in the island.

The recent increase in unplanned urbanization in Cyprus, gradually destroys the habitats of the amphibian and reptile species. A serious decrease in springs and creeks is evident within the region, which has rather arid summers. In addition to these factors, the frequent killing of this lizard species, which are thought to be dangerous by local people, make it susceptible to extinction, I urge the Environmental Protection Office of NC and SC to increase regulations and take legal steps towards the protection of flora and fauna of Cyprus (please refer to “European Union habitat and species directive (1992)”, Annexes II and IV). Furthermore, we need to inform and educate the people of Cyprus in their responsibility to protect the unique habitat of Cyprus for many generations to come.

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. Göçmen, B., Senol, A. & Mermer, A. (2002). A New Record of Schneider's Skink, Eumeces schneideri Daudin, 1802 (Sauria: Scincidae) from Cyprus. Zoology in the Midle East, 25:19-22. 4. Göçmen, B., Kasot, N., Yildiz, M.Z., Sas, I., Akman, B., Yalçinkaya, D. & Gücel, S. (2008). Results of the Herpetological Trips to Northern Cyprus. North-Western Journal of Zoology, 4 (1): 139-149. 5. 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 (ISBN 975-483-486-5) [In Turkish & English]. [A PDF-Printable Version is present in my web site]. 6. Disi, A. M., Modry, D., Necas, P. & Rifai, L. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Edition Chimaira, 408 pp. 7. Baran, I. & Atatür, M. K. (1998). Turkish Herpetofauna (Amphibians & Reptiles). Ministry of Environment, Ankara. 214 pp.

Author Bayram GÖÇMEN
Created on Tuesday 15 April 2008
Posted on Thursday 14 July 2011
Tags CYPRUS / KIBRIS, Famagusta / Gazimagosa
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