Chalcides ocellatus

Chalcides ocellatus, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Sauria
Infraordo: Scincomorpha
Familia: Scincidae
Genus: Chalcides
Species: Chalcides ocellatus

Vernacular Names

Ελληνικά, Κυπριακά : Χαλκίδης ο μικρόφθαλμος, Λιακόνι

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Chalcides ocellatus, or Ocellated Skink (also known as Eyed Skink or gongilo[1]) is a species of skink found in Greece, southern Italy, Malta, and parts of northern Africa.[2][3]

As an adult, it generally reaches about 6 to 12 inches of length and has a small head, cylindrical body, and five toes on each foot. They are very agile and are often found in arid areas.[4] It is strongly related to Chalcides colosii, and C. colosii was formerly considered a subspecies of C. ocellatus.[5] C. ocellatus is notable for the presence of ocelli and for its wide variety of coloration patterns. It preys on various insects, including those with hard exoskeletons, arachnids, and small lizards, including its own young [6]. In captivity it also eats sweet fruits, boiled eggs and pieces of meat. Females of the species give birth to live young through vivipary.

C. ocellatus is considered to be a generalist species and can be found in a wide variety of environments, such as farmland and gravel deserts around the Mediterranean coast. Its main escape tactic from predators is to run behind vegetation, most likely because it is not suited to run very fast. Its limbs are somewhat short, but not adapted for fossorial movement.[7]

References

1. ^ Digimorph from the NSF Library at UT-Austin, Chalcides ocellatus
2. ^ Amphibians and Reptiles of Europe
3. ^ Arikan, et al.. "An Investigation on the Blood-Serum Proteins of Chalcides ocellatus (Sauria: Scincidae) Populations from Southern Anatolia." Tr. J. of Zoology 22 (1998) 175-177.
4. ^ Fauna Import UK
5. ^ Schleich, Hans-Hermann, et al.. Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa: Biology, Systematics, Field Guide. Koeltz Scientific Books, 1996.
6. ^ Vladimír Cerha, Miroslav Kocián, Scinkové, varani a ještěrky, Polaris, Frenštát p.R., p. 85
7. ^ Omar Attum, Perri Eason and Gary Cobbs. "Morphology, niche segregation, and escape tactics in a sand dune lizard community", Journal of Arid Environments 68:4, 564-573 March 2007

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