English name: Long-tailed Sun Skink
Scientific name: Eutropis longicaudata (Formerly Mabuya longicaudata)
Thai name: Ching-laen Hang Ya
Description: To 50 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 14 cm. A smooth, slender lizard with an extremely long tail. Base color is brown with a wide dark brown to black stripe on each side thinly bordered with white or cream. Head is no wider than body and narrows to the nose. Black body stripe continues on head up to eye. Tail is extremely long, over twice as long as the body. If the skink has lost its original tail, the regenerated tail may be no longer than its body. Underbelly is cream to yellow, sometimes with a greenish tint.
Similar Species: Common Sun Skink is not as slender, has a shorter tail when showing original tail, and rarely has as distinct a body stripe.
Speckled Forest Skink is smaller, has a shorter tail when showing original tail, and has a less distinct body stripe.
Habitat: Naturally found in open forest or shrubland, but can live in empty lots near human habitations. Is often found above the ground in trees, shrubs, and walls.
Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect and worm populations. Occasionally eats plant material like fruit, seeds, and leaves. Provides food for large snakes and some birds of prey.
Danger to humans: Will bite when handled and can draw blood, but is not dangerous.
Conservation status and threats: Is a widespread species and is not currently facing population declines. However, a recent study has shown that the Long-tailed Sun Skink may have more difficulty reproducing in urban environments as temperatures rise due to climate change.
Interesting facts: Long-tailed Sun Skinks have been shown to exhibit some “parental care” of their eggs. This behavior, which has been observed in dozens of snakes, lizards, and crocodilians, involves staying with the eggs until they hatch. In the case of Long-tailed Sun Skinks, they appear to stay with the eggs in order to defend them from potential predators, especially egg-eating snakes.
Hong Kong University: Eutropis longicaudata
Ecological Characteristics of the Skink, Mabuya longicaudata, on a Tropical East Asian Island
Parental care in the long-tailed skink, Mabuya longicaudata, on a tropical Asian Island
Orchid Island skinks impacted by global warming
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles (2nd Edition)