Fine Art

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Scincomorpha
Superfamiliae (2): Scincoidea – Lacertoidea
Overview of familiae (8)

CordylidaeGerrhosauridaeGymnophthalmidaeLacertidae – Mabuyidae – ScincidaeTeiidaeXantusiidae

Unplaced genera (1)


Scincomorpha Camp, 1923

Scincomorpha is an infraorder and clade of lizards including skinks (Scincidae) and their close relatives. These include the living families Cordylidae (girdled lizards), Gerrhosauridae (plated lizards), and Xantusiidae (night lizards), as well as many extinct taxa. Other roughly equivalent terms include the suborder Scinciformata,[3] or the superfamily Scincoidea, though different authors use these terms in a broader or more restricted usage relative to true skinks. They first appear in the fossil record about 170 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.[4] The phylogeny below follows that of Alifanov in 2016.[2]












Cordylidae Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa (Smaug giganteus).jpg


Scincidae Natural history of Victoria (Egernia cunninghami).jpg

There are many characteristics that are shared upon all skinks. All skinks have very cone shaped heads with large, symmetrical, and shield-like scales. Their scales are smooth, glossy, and circular all throughout their body. Once you get to their back and belly areas, they have more round scales that overlap like roof shingles. Their bodies are cylindrical in their cross section and have body scales that have bony plates underneath them called “osteoderms”. Osteoderms are dermal bone structures that support the upper layer of skin and serve as protection against the elements in a large variety of extinct and extant organisms, especially reptiles. This structure is commonly called "dermal armor" and serves to protect the organism, while also helping with temperature regulation. The roofs of their mouths are made up of two bony plates instead of one. One of their bony plates is called a palate and the other bony palate in the roof of their mouth separates the respiratory and digestive passages. They also have very long tapering tails with small legs and five toes.

For their distribution, there are around 1,275 species of skinks all around the world. They are very popular and can be mostly found in Southeast Asia, the deserts of Australia, and temperate regions of North America. There are also desert species skinks that are called “sand swimmers” that are found in Florida. Five-lined skinks are very popular throughout Georgia and North Carolina, they are found in very wooded areas and like to hide in fallen trees. Skinks are more abundant and endangered in Africa and Indo Australia because of predators and loss of habitat. Another very popular area is New Zealand, the pale-flecked garden sunskink (Lampropholis guichenoti) is very common. They are also found in the suburban gardens in Auckland. Some skink species are more terrestrial and fossorial, some arboreal meaning tree-dwelling, and others are semiaquatic.

Nydam, R.L. (2013). "Squamates from the Jurassic and Cretaceous of North America". Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. 93 (4): 535–565. doi:10.1007/s12549-013-0129-5. S2CID 129773133.
Alifanov, V.R. (2019). "Lizards of the Families Eoxantidae, Ardeosauridae, Globauridae, and Paramacellodidae (Scincomorpha) from the Aptian-Albian of Mongolia". Paleontological Journal. 53 (1): 74–88. doi:10.1134/S0031030119010039. S2CID 181824832.
Vidal, Nicolas; Hedges, S. Blair (2009-02-01). "The molecular evolutionary tree of lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians". Comptes Rendus Biologies. La théorie de Darwin revisitée par la biologie d'aujourd'hui / Darwin's theory revisited by today's biology. 332 (2): 129–139. doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2008.07.010. ISSN 1631-0691.

Evans, S.E. and Jones, M.E.H. (2010). "The Origin, Early History and Diversification of Lepidosauromorph Reptiles," pp. 27-44 in Bandyopadhyay, S. (ed.), New Aspects of Mesozoic Biodiversity, 27 Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences 132. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-10311-7_2 [1]

(Skinks (Scincidae) ." Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 25, 2021 from

(Vitt, L. (2018, October 10). Skink. Encyclopædia Britannica.

W. (2011). Skinks: SCINCIDAE - physical characteristics. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from Skink. (2021, March 19). Retrieved April 01, 2021, from

Biology Encyclopedia

Reptiles Images

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World