Detailed species information from your search of the Atlas.
Scientific name:
Oligosoma aeneum
Common name:
copper skink
Naming authority:
(Girard, 1857)
Bio status category:
Indigenous (Endemic)
IUCN threat status:
** Not Classified **
NZ threat classification:
Not Threatened

Refer to for NZ threat classification system details.

copper skink. Photo: CC Ogle.
copper skink


  • Forest and open or shaded areas with adequate groundcover such as logs, rocks or long grass or deep leaf litter.
  • Also encountered in urban areas: compost heaps, rock gardens etc.
  • Occurs close to the high-tide line in coastal situations.
  • Most active by day but very secretive, seldom emerging from cover.


  • Back brown, often uniform or sometimes with scattered darker and lighter flecks.
  • A narrow pale-brown to copper-coloured stripe (sometimes highlighted beneath by black) may run along the edges of the back, especially above the shoulders.
  • Sides grey to grey-brown with darker and lighter flecks.
  • Belly cream to yellowish-green, unspotted.
  • Throat lighter than belly, often with black flecks.
  • 'Lips' often with alternating black/white toothed pattern.
  • Measures up to 62 mm from tip of snout to vent.


  • Widespread throughout North Island (possibly absent from Hawke's Bay through to Manawatu), and on many outlying islands, but not in the Poor Knights or Three Kings groups.
  • Can be abundant.


  • New Zealand's smallest native lizard.
  • The most common garden skink in Auckland and some suburbs of Wellington.
  • The specific name means "copper (or bronze) coloured".
  • Notes about 2012-14 cycle of NZ threat classification for Reptiles: (Hitchmough, et al.
  • 2012): In northern mainland populations, now thriving in habitats dominated by exotic weeds and modified environments.
  • Declines evidenced and anecdotal around Wellington.
  • Secure on many islands.

Statistical information and distribution map

  Before 1988 Since 1988
Live Specimen 605 1428
Dead Specimen 2 18
Skin 2 0
Bone 2 0
Total 611 1446

  Live or dead specimen or shed skin
  Bone or fossil

copper skink Distribution Map.'
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