Atlas species information
IntroductionDetailed species information from your search of the Atlas.
- Scientific name:
- Oligosoma polychroma
- Common name:
- northern grass skink
- Naming authority:
- (Patterson & Daugherty, 1990)
- Bio status category:
- Indigenous (Endemic)
- IUCN threat status:
- ** Not Classified **
- NZ threat classification:
- Not Threatened
Refer to www.doc.govt.nz/nztcs for NZ threat classification system details.
- Sand dunes, grasslands, herbfields, wetlands, rocky areas including rock piles and scree, and scrub.
- From the coast up to at least 1800 m above sea level.
- Diurnal, avid sun-basker.
- May over-winter in small groups.
- May live on ground, among rocks or among low dense vegetation; 'striped' form favours grass habitats.
- 'Striped' form: back light to dark straw-brown (rarely dark grey) with numerous smooth stripes, including dark brown mid-dorsal stripe continuous virtually to tip of intact tail; sides with broad dark brown stripe above (bordered by thin pale stripes) and below this grey-brown.
- 'Speckled' form: back mid- to dark brown, with or without various stripes and with or without lighter and darker flecking or grey blotches, sides as for 'striped' form but often more flecked.
- 'Striped' and 'speckled' forms have throat grey-brown, and belly grey-brown to bright yellow, usually unmarked.
- 'Seaward Moss' form reddish- to very dark brown or dark olive-green all over, sides marginally darker than back, undersurface marginally paler, the only markings a dark mid-dorsal stripe and often a blackish snout.
- Soles of feet yellow, dark brown or black.
- Size up to 72 (occasionally to 79) mm from snout tip to vent.
- From central North Island southwards to Stewart Island; on South Island mostly found east of Main Divide, western occurrence restricted to Nelson and northern Westland; on Stewart Island possibly restricted to lowland areas.
- Often abundant.
- 'Speckled' form occurs from Otago/Canterbury boundary northwards.
- 'Seaward Moss' form confined to the Seaward Moss Conservation Area near Invercargill.
- 'Striped' form ranges from Stewart Island to north Otago, on Stephens Island, and occurs sporadically in Marlborough and the North Island.
- The scientific name means "many colours".
- Likely to be given full species status.
- Notes about NZ threat classification (Hitchmough, et al 2007): Unstriped colour morph from Seaward Moss wetland in Southland has declined markedly, possibly to extinction - cause unknown but possibly vegetation succession, normal striped morph remains common.
- Notes about 2012-14 cycle of NZ threat classification for Reptiles: (Hitchmough, et al.
- 2012): Declining trend documented at Rotoiti, stable population trend documented at Pukerua Bay; likely to be in decline, but possibly not at 10% over 3 generations, elsewhere on the mainland.
- Secure on many islands.
- Declining trends on mainland likely offset by increases on islands eradicated of mammals (and mainland sanctuaries).
Statistical information and distribution map
|Before 1988||Since 1988|
Live or dead specimen or shed skin
Bone or fossil