Complete Genus List of the Blue Tongued Skink

Name Species Subspecies
Northern Tiliqua scincoides intermedia
Western T. occipitalis -
Eastern T. scincoides scincoides
Centralian T. multifasciata -
Merauke T. gigas evanescens
Tanimbar T. scincoides chimaerea
Irian Jaya T. sp. -
Indonesian T. gigas gigas
Kei Island T. gigas keiensis
Blotched T. nigrolutea -
Shingleback T. rugosa rugosa*
Pygmy T. adelaidensis -

*Note: Some experts believe the Shingleback belongs to the genus Trachydosaurus. Others still say Tiliqua.
Binomial Nomenclature

The scientific naming of species whereby each species receives a Latin or Latinized name of two parts, the first indicating the genus (Tiliqua) and the second being the specific epithet. (nigrolutea, occipitalis, multifasciata etc.)

Explaining the genus of blue tongue skinks or any animal can be utterly confusing, but hopefully after reading this page it will make a little more sense. Basically, if the blue tongue has three names, it indicates the blue tongue skink is a subspecies, or is associated with a subspecies. Tiliqua gigas gigas is the Indonesian blue tongue. Tiliqua gigas keiensis is the Kei Island blue tongue, and is a subspecies of the Indonesian. Species that have just two words do not carry a subspecies (Take the Western blue tongue for example. Its name is: Tiliqua occipitalis. If it had a subspecies, it would be Tiliqua occipitalis occipitalis, the third name being the specific subspecies). Species with two repeat words are the pure breed. (I.E, gigas gigas & scincoides scincoides, or IF the Western carried a subspecies which it does not, it would be occipitalis occipitalis). The actual "species" is a wide group of animals. A subspecies is basically an animal that shares very similar qualities with that larger main species, but yet is sightly different in its own special way.

In a nutshell...

  • First Word The blue tongue skink
  • Second Word The species of blue tongue skink
  • Third Word (If applicable) The subspecies of blue tongue skink

    Written by Zach @
  • Taxonomy
    • "The classification of organisms in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships."
    • "The classification of organisms into groups based on similarities of structure or origin."

    Complete BTS Taxonomy

  • Kingdom.........Animalia
  • Phylum...........Chordata
  • Class...............Reptilia
  • Order.............Squamata (snakes & lizards)
  • Family.............Scincidae
  • Genus............Tiliqua
  • Species...........multifasciata, occipitalis, nigrolutea, etc.
  • Sub-Species.....keiensis, evanescens, chimaerea, etc.

    This is the correct order for the taxonomy of any animal. A funny way to remember the correct order is...


    Compiled by Zach @
  • Complicated 'istic' words

    Very overly simplified definitions

  • HYPO: very little of a color
  • HYPER: lots of a color
  • A(N): none of a color

  • MELANISTIC: having black color
  • ERYTHRISTIC: having red color
  • LEUCISTIC: having white color
  • AXANTHIC: lack of yellow/orange pigmentation

    Mix and match and voila! You have hypomelanistic, hypermelanistic, and anerythristic.

    Here are a few pictures & definitions

  • Anerythristic A blue tongue skink with no 'real' colors. Lacking any red or pink, and consisting of more bland colors such as gray, black or off-white.

  • Hypermelanistic A blue tongue skink that is, or almost is, completely dark, or even black.

  • Leucistic A blue tongue skink that is, or almost is, entirely white with bluish black eyes. No blue tongues are currently known to be leucistic.

    Written by Edward @
  • CB or WC?

    CB Captive Bred
    Captive Bred of course means born in captivity. Quality captive bred blue tongues can be found on internet classifieds, your local newspapers, and pet shops. Keep in mind, none of these methods guarantee you a CB animal. You can learn all about buying a CB skink in the opening paragraphs of the caresheet section. Also, CBB means "captive born AND bred". In this case, the babies are not only captive bred themselves, but the parents are captive bred as well.

    WC Wild Caught
    We DO NOT advise purchasing wild caught animals. Beside the fact that it's possibly illegal, they're often full of mites and internal parasites, and by NO MEANS ready to be a favorable pet. If you obtain a WC, it's important to get it "de-wormed" and checked out right away. Most (not all) Indonesian blue tongue skinks you see in a pet store are wild caught imports. They are often very unfriendly because they're WILD, and not used to human contact making them undesirable and unhappy. There are plenty of blue tongue skinks for sale that are born captive, and ready to be great pets. If you see a Northern in a pet shop, it is most assuredly a CaptiveBred as exporting from Australia is highly illegal. It is NOT illegal to export reptiles from Indonesia, and that's why almost all pet shop blue tongues are Indonesians.

    What IS all this hoopla about wild caught animals?

    Concerning the general question: "The United States desperately needs new blood for the breeding of reptiles, as many are being inbred to the point of having development problems. Is wild exporting the answer?"

    Here is one take:

    I dont believe that wild caught is really the answer, but a band-aid to the problem. I can understand people's concerns about genetic viability in captive stocks becoming less vigorous as time goes on, and sure that is a problem, BUT you cant keep taking wild caught animals to fix this, as it wont be sustainable in the long run.

    Captive breeding, whether it be reptiles, birds or mammals, must be SELF sustainable. Hypothetically, if 1000 shinglebacks and 1000 Pogona vitticeps were imported into the U.S next week, that would be great for short term. But what about long term? The same problem on inbreeding would happen again in 30 years time. What then, do you want another 1000 of each to prop up the hobby again?

    From what I understand, there are a lot of commercial breeders in the U.S, which is very different from here in Australia, where 99% of reptiles are held by private hobbyists. Let me put it this way: Shouldn't everyone (in particular these commercial outfits), be responsible for maintaining the highest possible gene exchange to ensure the hobby is self-sustaining?

    Our hobby is already under worldwide pressure by animal lobbyists who think we shouldnt be keeping reptiles, or any animals. This is just the kind of excuse they would need for a greater push to shut us all down. See, they can't even sustain their own hobby, and need wild caught animals brought in to help their inbreeding, etc.

    Let me bring in a bird example... the Bengalese Finch, or Bengalese Mannikan as it's probably known in the U.S. These birds are a fully domesticated hybrid of 3 wild species in asia (3 or 4 I can't exactly remember). They were "invented" by the Japanese or Chinese hundreds of years ago, and are a very popular aviary bird worldwide. This bird is man-made, and cannot be found in the wild. Bird enthusiasts dont have a choice here. They cannot bring wild caught birds in, they must cooperate with other breeders to exchange blood lines to ensure vigour in their stock. There seems to be a general lack of cooperation in reptiles, where keepers are aware of exchanging genetic material where it could benefit the hobby greatly.

    I know many of the orginal lines of BTS (and other reptiles in the U.S and elsewhere), are the desendants of wild caught stocks from Australia prior to the ban on exports in 1974, and some are undoubtedly the prodigy of illegal exported animals since this date. However, the activity of illegal collection must not be encouraged just to correct our inability to manage captive populations correctly.

    I believe it would only be a "band-aid" and would not fix any issues one might have; not to mention adding fuel to the fire for animal lobbyists.

    Written by Steve Sass @
    Terms to Know

    2.5.11 You've probably often seen people categorizing their reptiles like this. It simply means 2 males, 5 females, and 11 of unknown gender (last digits can also indicate babies).

    Albino A person or animal lacking normal pigmentation, with the result being that the skin and hair are abnormally white or milky and the eyes have a pink or blue iris and a deep-red pupil. Albino blue tongue skinks are exceptionally rare unlike other albino reptiles.

    Anthropomorphizing To give human characteristics to things not human. Usually animals.

    Arboreal Lives and inhabits trees.

    Autotomy The spontaneous casting off of a limb or other body part, such as the tail of certain lizards or the claw of a lobster, especially when the organism is injured or under attack.

    Binomial Nomenclature The scientific naming of species whereby each species receives a Latin or Latinized name of two parts, the first indicating the genus (Tiliqua) and the second being the specific epithet. (nigrolutea, occipitalis, multifasciata etc.)

    Brumation Hibernation type sleep induced by prolonged periods of low temperatures.

    BTS Abbreviation for Blue Tongue Skink.

    Carnivorous A reptile that has a diet consisting of only meat.

    Caudal Referring to the tail.

    Cloaca The common cavity into which the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts open in vertebrates such as fish, reptiles, birds, and some primitive mammals.

    Colubrid Any of numerous, widely distributed, chiefly nonvenomous snakes of the family Colubridae, which includes the king snakes, garter snakes, and water snakes.

    Crepuscular Active during the evening and early morning hours.

    Dimorphism The existence among animals of the same species, that differ in one or more characteristics, such as coloration, size, or shape.

    Diurnal Active during the day.

    Dorsal The back or upper surface of a reptile.

    Fecundity Producing lots of offspring

    Fossorial Refers to any reptile that burrows, especially underground.

    Gestation The period of time between mating and the birth of the young.

    Gravid Pregnant. Carrying/developing young or eggs: a gravid uterus; a gravid female.

    Hemipenes The bi-lobed male reproductive organ that is kept inverted in the base of the tail until needed for copulation.

    Herpetology The branch of zoology that deals with reptiles and amphibians.

    Indigenous Originating and living or occurring naturally in an area or environment.

    Monogamous The practice or condition of having a single sexual partner during a period of time. Mate for life.

    Nocturnal Active during the night.

    Oviparous Producing eggs that hatch outside the body.

    Ovoviviparous Producing eggs that hatch within the female's body without obtaining nourishment from it.

    Prehensile As in "Prehensile Tailed Skink." Adapted for seizing, grasping, or holding, especially by wrapping around an object.

    Procreate To Conceive (offspring).

    Rostrum The snout or nose area on a reptile's face.

    Salmonella Any of various rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Salmonella, many of which are pathogenic, causing food poisoning, typhoid, and paratyphoid fever in humans and other infectious diseases in domestic animals.

    Saxicolous A reptile that is a rock and crevice dweller.

    Slough The dead outer skin shed by a reptile or amphibian.

    Substrate An underlying layer. This is the wood chips, sand, carpet, etc that you use to cover the bottom of your terrarium.

    Taxonomy The classification of organisms in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships.

    Terrarium A small enclosure or closed container in which selected living plants and sometimes small land animals, such as turtles and lizards, are kept and observed.

    Terrestrial Living/dwelling on the surface of the ground. Not arboreal.

    Vent The excretory opening of the digestive tract.

    Ventral Pertains to the belly side of the reptile.

    Viviparous Giving birth to living offspring that develop within the mother's body. Most mammals and some other animals are viviparous. Blue tongue skinks are one of the few reptiles that are viviparous!

    Zoonosis Refers to any disease, bacteria, fungus or worm which can be transmitted from one animal to another, including to humans. Salmonella for example.
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