- OTHER AUSTRALIAN & POLYNISIAN skinks
Care & Breeding Articles :
1- Breeding Prehensile-Tailed Skinks :
BY JEFF LITTLEJOHN
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Solomon Islands skink (Corucia zebrata), also known as prehensile-tailed skink, monkey-tailed skink, giant skink, zebra skink, and monkey skink, is an arboreal species of skink endemic to the Solomon Islands archipelago. It is the largest known extant species of skink.
The Solomon Islands skink is completely herbivorous, eating many different fruits and vegetables including the pothos plant. It is one of the few species of reptile known to function within a social group or circulus. Both male and female specimens are known to be territorial and often hostile towards members not a part of their family group.
Corucia is a monotypic genus, containing a single species. However, in 1997 it was determined that there are two subspecies of the Solomon Islands skink: the common monkey-tailed skink (Corucia zebrata zebrata) and the northern monkey-tailed skink (Corucia zebrata alfredschmidti). Among other variances, the northern skink is smaller and has darker eyes with a black sclera.
Extensive logging is a serious threat to the survival of this species. Consumption for food by indigenous Solomon Islanders and excessive pet trade exports have affected wild populations. Export of this species from the Solomon Islands is now restricted and the animal is protected under CITES appendix II.
A lot of skinks species available in this region , but few of them are available in the markets as a pets ( Blue Tongued Skinks one of them ) .. here is a list with what is available of information on it .. Please be informed that these species is selected and not all which we belive that may be have a good chanse to be a pets in the future ..
1- Corucia genus :
The Solomon Islands skink (Corucia zebrata)
Solomon Islands skink
Scientific classification :
Binomial name :
Taxonomy and etymology
The Solomon Islands skink was first described by John Edward Gray in 1855 as Corucia zebrata. The generic name Corucia derives from the Latin word coruscus meaning "shimmering". This is in reference to Gray's description of "a play of colors effect from the body scales". Its specific name zebrata is a Latinized form of the word zebra, in reference to the animal's zebra-like stripes. Some of its common names (prehensile-tailed skink, monkey-tailed skink, monkey skink) refer to its fully prehensile tail which the species uses as a fifth limb for climbing.
Although appearances of Solomon Island skinks vary from island to island, only one subspecies, from the western islands of the Solomons Archipelago, was described by Dr. Gunther Köhler in 1996 as C. z. alfredschmidti, the trinomial name of which is in honor of German amateur herpetologist Alfred A. Schmidt.
The closest living relatives of C. zebrata are the blue-tongued skinks of the genus Tiliqua and skinks of the genus Egernia of Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia, all of which are also assigned to the subfamily Lygosominae.
Distribution and habitat
The Solomon Islands skink is native to Solomon Islands archipelago, a group of islands in the south-west Pacific Ocean. The common subspecies (C. z. zebrata) is found on the islands of Choiseul Island, New Georgia, Isabel, Guadalcanal, Ngela, Malaita, Makira (Solomon Islands), Ugi and Santa Ana. The northern subspecies (C. z. alfredschmidti) is known from the islands of Bougainville and Buka and the Shortland Island Group. Bougainville and Buka are geographically part of the Solomons Archipelago, though politically part of Papua New Guinea. Both subspecies of the Solomon Islands skink are strictly arboreal, usually inhabiting the upper canopy of forested areas throughout its range. It commonly occurs in the strangler fig tree (Ficus sp.), provided the epiphytic growth of its several food plants are present. It occurs in trees in semi-cleared areas and cultivated food gardens, again provided its food plants occur there.
Map of the Solomon Islands archipelago
The Solomon Islands skink is the world's largest species of extant skink; adults can reach a length of 32 inches (81 cm) from nose to the tip of their tail when fully grown, with the tail accounting for more than half this length.
The Solomon Islands skink has a long, slender body, strong, short legs, and a triangular shaped head with small round eyes. The skink has a strong crushing jaw but the teeth are small and used for eating plant material. Its prehensile tail helps it maneuver from branch to branch with ease and gives the skink its more common names: monkey-tailed skink, prehensile-tailed skink, or monkey skink. Male Solomon Islands skinks tend to have a broader head and a more slender body shape than do female skinks. Males have a "V"-shaped pattern of scales just aft of the cloacal opening, which is not present in female skinks.
The scales of Solomon Islands skinks are a dark green but are often speckled with light brown or black. The scales on the underside vary from light yellow to different shades of green. The toes on all four legs have thick, curved nails used for climbing and gripping tree limbs.
Solomon Islands skink at the St Louis Zoo.
As a crepuscular animal, it is most active during the dusk and dawn hours, feeding primarily at dusk. it also is active and eats during the hours of dawn, though to a lesser extent. it has quite good eyesight and relies upon it to identify threats, as well as potential food.. it relies heavily on its sense of smell, and uses it to identify its territory and other members of its group, called a circulus. Like snakes, the skink "smells" by flicking its tongue to gather scents and when the tongue is retracted it touches it to the opening of a Jacobson's organ at the roof of its mouth.
The common Solomon Islands skink (C. z. zebrata) has a white sclera with its eyes while the northern Solomon Islands skink (C. z. alfredschmidti) has a black sclera. The iris of the northern Solomon Islands skink is a mix of green and yellow whereas the iris of the common Solomon Islands skink can vary from several different shades of green to orange to a dark black. According to Dr. Gunther Köhler, who described the northern subspecies, this subspecies possesses "larger dorsal and ventral scales" and has "seven instead of usually five parietal scales"
The northern Solomon Islands skink is the shorter of the two subspecies with males averaging 24 inches (61 cm) and females averaging 22 inches (56 cm) in length when measured from nose to tip of tail. The common Solomon Islands skinks are slightly longer with the males averaging 28 inches (71 cm) and the females averaging 24 inches (61 cm) when measured from nose to tip of tail. The common Solomon Islands skink, at 850 grams (1.87 lb), weighs more than the northern Solomon Islands skink, which weighs closer to 500 grams (1.1 lb).
Solomon Islands skinks are herbivores, feeding on the leaves, flowers, fruit, and growing shoots of several different species of plants. This includes the somewhat toxic (due to high concentrations of calcium oxalate) Epipremnum pinnatum (cf.E. aureum) plant,a which the lizard eats without ill-effect.b Juvenile skinks often eat feces from adults in order to acquire the essential microflora to digest their food. Newborn skinks have been observed consuming their placental sac after birth and will not feed on other food for the first 2 days.[
The Solomon Islands skink is one of the few species of reptile that lives in a communal group known as a circulus. The Solomon Islands skink reproduces by viviparousmatrotrophy:c the female provides a placenta for its young, which are born after a gestation period of six to eight months; this is a rare trait among reptiles. The newborn skink is of a large size compared to its mother; the northern Solomon Islands skinks are approximately 29 centimetres (11 in) in length and weigh 80 grams (0.18 lb), whereas the common Solomon Islands skinks are 30 centimetres (12 in) and 175 grams (0.386 lb) when they are born. This reduced size disparity led the former curator of reptiles at the Philadelphia Zoo, Dr. Kevin Wright, to compare it to "a human mother giving birth to a six year–old". Almost all births are single babies but occasionally twins will be born. At least one instance of triplets has occurred according to herpetologist Bert Langerwerf.
The newborn skink will stay within its circulus for six to twelve months during which time it will be protected by not only its parents but other unrelated adult skinks within the group. Around one year of age, sometimes earlier, the juvenile will move off to form a new family group. Individuals have been documented to stay within the group for several births without being expelled, however. Adult skinks have even been known to "adopt" orphaned young skinks into their groups. Females exhibit fierce protective behavior around the time of birth; this protectiveness of young is a rare occurrence in reptiles but is shorter in duration when compared to the protective behavior exhibited by a typical mammal.
Extensive logging is a serious ongoing threat to the survival of this species, as is consumption for food by native people, and export demand for the pet trade. Because of the large numbers of lizards that were being exported for the pet trade, the small region to which the skink is native, and its low reproductive rate, in 1992 Corucia zebrata was listed as a CITES Appendix II animal, which allows limits to be placed on the number of animals in commercial trade between countries.
Since there is no regulation on the rapid deforestation occurring in the Solomon Islands, limited export to recognized institutions may be needed to aid this species in genetic diversity for its survival via ex situ breeding programs. According to herpetologists who study the Solomon Islands skink, such as Dr. David Kirkpatrick and the late Dr. Kevin Wright, captive breeding alone is not practical as a sole method of species survival due to the limited number of offspring and long gestation periods
In captivity :
The Solomon Islands skink is represented in both public and private collections. The Philadelphia Zoo has bred these skinks over multiple generations for the past 40 years. The keeping of the Solomon Islands skink in captivity is not without its challenges: as it is a large arboreal tropical animal. It requires a large arboreal enclosure, with a constant temperature between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, with heat being provided from above as well as below, allowing the skink to bask in the heat from above as it would during dusk, while providing a radiant heat from below to aid digestion. The dynamics of the skink's circulus means that not all groups do well when new animals are introduced. Despite successful breeding programs, their somewhat unique nature of single births and slow growth has made these programs challenging. A well-cared for monkey-tailed skink can live twenty-five to thirty years. A well-balanced diet consisting primarily of kale, green beans, and cooked sweet potato, supplemented with slices of peeled kiwi fruit, apple, and papaya, as well as access to a large shallow, clean water source aid in increasing longevity. Bathing them in shallow lukewarm water during the beginning of the monthly shed, greatly reduces the stress inherent in shedding, as well as speeds the process.
Biologist Michael Balsai of Temple University has noted a significant number of breedings between skinks from different islands has resulted in non-productive unions. Balsai's theory is that there are enough differences between animals from different islands that pairing of lizards from different locales will be unproductive, further frustrating many captive breeding attempts.
Solomon Islands skink at the Buffalo Zoo.
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Corucia zebrata handfeeding
Prehensile tailed skink - Corucia zebrata
Solomon Islands Skink, Corucia zebrata
Corucia zebrata feeding.
Care & Set up :
Solomon Islands skink - Video Learning - WizScience.com
Meet our Prehensile Tail Skink
Monkey tailed skinks (corucia zebrata)
Corucia zebrata in cage 15 (monkey tailed skinks)
Corucia zebrata (monkey tailed skink) breeding.
Breeder group of corucia zebrata cage 13
Other websites :
- Very Good : www.solomonislandsskink.com/food
Sexing yearling and older prehensile-tailed skinks (Corucia zebrata), also known as Solomon Island skinks, can often be done visually, as males are leaner, shorter bodied and have broader heads than females. Hemipenal eversion can sometimes be a useful technique, but it is stressful for the animal and can cause damage if done ineptly. There are scalation differences around the vents of male and female Corucia, but these are often difficult to differentiate. Ideally, a male will have obvious hemipenal bulges at the base of the tail and a female will not.
PHOTO BY JEFF LITTLEJOHN
A newborn prehensile-tailed skink.
Many times, Corucia can be housed together from the start with no problems. Some light nipping and scuffing can be expected, but a second day of newly roughened scales from bites means that animal should be removed, unless those scuffs are in the shoulder area, which indicates breeding activity. Adult males cannot normally be housed safely together, but many female Corucia, and some other female skinks, also can suddenly take a disliking to each other, sometimes even after living together for years. For this reason, I usually prefer pairing Corucia rather than placing them in trios; it just reduces the chances of a fatal conflict. If they must be housed alone, an effort should be made to make sure they are in close proximity to other Corucia, separated only by a wire mesh barrier if possible. This is also a useful tool for safe introductions. Like many skinks and some other lizards, Corucia seem to develop psychological problems if raised completely alone, and may be overly aggressive when the time comes to introduce them to another.
Breeding and birth can occur at any time of the year, and gestation usually concludes in about seven to eight months. It is often possible to recognize a gravid female by her obvious increase in girth, distinguished from a simply heavy animal by increasing prominence of the hipbones, indicating the stress of pregnancy on the female’s body. A gravid female will also spend more time on the cage floor’s heat source, or under a lamp if you use one. Corucia in captive pairs and groups exhibit a marked anxiety around the arrival of a newborn. Some of these animals may become calm and trustworthy (not to bite you) again over time, while others may permanently remain on alert. It is a good idea to never use a large, deep water bowl with a gravid female, as she may give birth in the water and the baby will drown. Ideally, you will find a newborn in the adults’ cage, with its umbilical cord already gone and just a dried umbilical scar on the abdomen to show for it. Babies can vary in size, with twins being smaller, but a large baby may be 13 inches long at birth. It is a good idea to offer soft, moist foods, especially canned salt-free French-cut green beans, to the newborn as soon as possible. Many will eat right away, and others may be reluctant or picky feeders for a while. Reptile vitamin and mineral supplements are, of course, important for all Corucia, but they are especially important for the proper skeletal development of growing juveniles. Dust food every second or third feeding with commercially available supplements.
Coprophagy, or the eating of feces, is well documented in all Corucia, but the necessity of it for the healthy development of juveniles is not proven. Newborns removed from the adults before there was any possibility of this behavior occurring have often fared as well in terms of physical health as those left with the parents. The assumption that it is necessary for gut flora to be passed to juveniles is not proven, and it may be that there is simply nutritional content in Corucia feces that remains to be utilized by others.
Infant mortality can be as high as 40 percent or more. Common causes are umbilical infections, drowning from being born in the water bowl, and dehydration from not being noticed and fed soon enough by their keepers. A baby born with a distended belly may look robust, but this is usually a bad sign and may indicate improper and incomplete abdominal development. Generally speaking, if you have a baby that is eating and has survived a week, it is out of the woods.
There is a common belief that young Corucia need to stay with their parents as long as possible, even for up to a year or more. However, sometimes a group is so nervous after the birth of a newborn that the baby seems to be in real danger of being mistakenly attacked by a confused adult, and it may be a better idea to separate it. If there are no problems, I try to leave a baby with the adults for at least a few months. When separating a baby from adults, the ideal situation is to have two babies to house together. Raising a young male and female Corucia together ensures the best chance of having a compatible pair. Housing, temperature and substrate may be the same for juveniles and adults.
Captive-raised Corucia may take 4 years to reach breeding age.
Jeff Littlejohn has kept and bred prehensile tailed skinks since 1988. He is a sculptor, specializing in reptile and amphibian work.
Please select or follow below :
Please select or follow below :