Red-sided Skink Trachylepis homalocephala
Family: Scincidae. Subfamily: Lygosomatiinae
Breeding male, Cape TownSize
SVL 60-75 mm; max. SVL 79 mm.Description
This small, elegant skink has a shiny, brightly striped body.
It has a typical skink appearance with a large body. The snout is pointed and the neck is thick. They have a movable bottom eyelid and this species has frills around the eardrum to protect it while it burrows in the substrate.
It is mainly brown with red running along the side of their body with the odd white scale. Males change colour in the breeding season, developing bright red stripes on their flanks.
In males, the head, body and tail are pencil-grey above with four longitudinal dorso-lateral black stripes on the body. Laterally, a broad black band, which also passes through the eye, separates the bright orange to reddish undersides and limbs from the grey-coloured dorsal parts.
Females lack the orange undersides, although the hind legs are reddish-brown. Like in males, there are four dorso-lateral black stripes and a broader lateral black band passing through the eye. Below this black band, there is a distinct white line, passing underneath the eye in front. In females, the head and dorsal body are olive-grey with the scales outlined in black.
The underside of the body is a pale grey.Geographical distribution
Indigenous to Southern Africa, where it occurs from Cape Town, eastwards along the coast as far as Mozambique. A few tiny isolated populations also occur in moist mountainous areas further inland.Habitat
Coastal thicket and leaf litter along coast.Behaviour
It is ground-living and shelters in tunnels that it digs at the base of bushes or boulders. It also favours any kind of debris to hide underneath. Diet
It is an active forager and hunts insects.Reproduction
The Red-sided Skink is an egg-laying species and up to six eggs are laid in summer (late November to early December).
Garden Route NP, Storms River Mouth