Species: Duttaphrynus melanostictus
Subspecies: Sphenomorphus sanctus
SKINK SPHENOMORPHUS SANCTUS
The genus Sphenomorphus - vernacularly known as the common skinks - currently serves as a wastebin taxon for a large number of skinks. While most or all species presently placed here are probably rather close relatives, the genus as presently delimited is likely to be not monophyletic and is in need of review. Some species in this genus have been moved to Pinoyscincus.
Skinks are lizards belonging to the family Scincidae and the infraorder Scincomorpha. With more than 1,500 described species, the Scincidae are one of the most diverse families of lizards.
A trait apparent in nearly all species of skink is digging and burrowing. Most spend their time underground where they are mostly safe from predators, sometimes even digging out tunnels for easy navigation. They also use their tongues to sniff the air and track their prey. When they encounter their prey, they chase it down until they corner it or manage to land a bite and then swallow it whole.
Skinks are generally carnivorous and in particular insectivorous. Typical prey include flies, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. Various species also eat earthworms, millipedes, snails, slugs, isopods, moths, other lizards, and small rodents. Some species, particularly those favored as home pets, have more varied diets and can be maintained on a regimen of roughly 60% vegetables/leaves/fruit and 40% meat (insects and rodents)
Skinks look like true lizards, but most species have no pronounced neck, and their legs are relatively small; several genera have no limbs at all. Other genera, such as Neoseps, have reduced limbs and with fewer than five toes on each foot. In such species, their locomotion resembles that of snakes more than that of lizards with well-developed limbs. As a general rule, the longer the digits, the more arboreal the species is likely to be. A biological ratio can determine the ecological niche of a given skink species. The Scincidae ecological niche index is a ratio based on anterior foot length at the junction of the ulna/radius-carpal bones to the longest digit divided by the snout-to-vent length.
Most species of skinks have long, tapering tails they can shed if predators grab onto them. Such species generally can regenerate the lost part of a tail, though imperfectly. Species with stumpy tails have no special regenerative abilities.
Some species of skinks are quite small; Scincella lateralis typically ranges from 7.5 to 14.5 cm, more than half of which is the tail. Most skinks, though, are medium-sized, with snout-to-vent lengths around 12 cm, although some grow larger; the Solomon Islands skink is the largest known extant species and may attain a snout-to-vent length of some 35 cm.
Skinks in the genus Prasinohaema have green blood because of a buildup of the waste product biliverdin.