Cryptoblepharus leschenault (Cocteau, 1832)

Kaiser, Hinrich, Carvalho, Venancio Lopes, Ceballos, Jester, Freed, Paul, Heacox, Scott, Lester, Barbara, Richards, Stephen J., Trainor, Colin R., Sanchez, Caitlin & O'Shea, Mark, 2011, The herpetofauna of Timor-Leste: a first report, ZooKeys 109, pp. 19-86 : 38

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Cryptoblepharus leschenault (Cocteau, 1832)


Cryptoblepharus leschenault (Cocteau, 1832) Fig. 15 View Figure 15

Common name.

(E) Leschenault’s snake-eyed skink. *(T) Mamór matan samea ( mamór = skink, matan = eye, samea = snake).


The defining characteristic of this genus, which occurs widely across the tropical world, is the lack of moveable eyelids, which are replaced by transparent snake-like brilles. Their slender body, long tail, and distinctive dorsal pattern, consisting of two light dorsolateral stripes and a characteristic light mid-dorsal line that forks posterior to the neck, easily identifies individuals of this species. Our identification of this species was confirmed by reviewing the figures in Horner (2007: Figs. 170, 171).

Collection and natural history.

We collected four individuals of Cryptoblepharus leschenault and observed many others. These skinks were invariably seen on the trunks of hardwoods above root level. Two species of Cryptoblepharus have been reported from Timor, but we did not encounter Cryptoblepharus schlegelianus , which can be distinguished from Cryptoblepharus leschenault by a greatly reduced degree of dorsolateral striping, particularly the lack of a vertebral stripe that extends along the dorsum and onto the tail ( Horner 2007: Fig. 188).

Taxonomic comment.

Salomon Müller first mentioned the occurrence of this species on Timor in letters written in 1829 ( Brongersma 1942). Müller reported on collections he made on Semau, a small island off the northwest coast of West Timor, as well as on Timor. Müller’s descriptions include Cryptoblepharus schlegelianus and Cryptoblepharus leschenault and it appears that both of these species were collected within a short time span during his visits. Based on the specimens available to Brongersma in the 1940s in the collections at the RMNH (see Brongersma 1942) and our own search of herpetological collections, there exists a single voucher specimen of Cryptoblepharus leschenault from Timor in the collection of the Naturhistorisches Museum Basel (NHMB 12885, as Ablepharus boutonii leschenault ), which was first reported by Forcart (1953). Our specimens therefore comprise the first series of Cryptoblepharus leschenault from Timor and Timor-Leste. Specimens collected of this species by Max Weber (see Weber 1890) were from Flores (described as Ablepharus boutonii furcata ).