Detailed species information from your search of the Atlas.
Scientific name:
Oligosoma zelandicum
Common name:
glossy brown skink
Naming authority:
(Gray, 1843)
Bio status category:
Indigenous (Endemic)
IUCN threat status:
Lower Risk: least concern
NZ threat classification:

Refer to for NZ threat classification system details.

glossy brown skink. Photo: AH Whitaker.
glossy brown skink


  • Densely vegetated and typically damp habitats in lowland areas, including forest, scrub, farmland and coastlines, including among pohuehue on boulder banks.
  • Typically in lowland areas, but on Mount Taranaki up to 1000 m above sea level.
  • Diurnal, sun-basks but is secretive.
  • Often co-exists with the similar-looking common skink.


  • Back light to dark brown, sometimes with greyish or reddish tones, sometimes with an indefinite dark brown mid-dorsal (middle of back) stripe, and often with indefinite lighter and darker flecking.
  • Sides brown or grey-brown, often flecked; upper areas often with a broad dark brown stripe that is typically bordered above (but narrowing or ending before tail) by a thin cream stripe, and sometimes below by a very thin, often fractured cream stripe.
  • Some shoreline populations blackish.
  • Throat grey and often flecked with black.
  • Belly grey, straw-brown or flushed red or orange, and sometimes flecked with black.
  • Soles of feet dark brown or black.
  • Measures up to 73 mm from snout tip to vent.


  • South-western North Island from Taranaki to Wellington, and Marlborough, Nelson (sparse) and northern Westland.
  • Often abundant, but is of localized occurrence, especially so in South Island.


  • The scientific name refers to New Zealand.
  • Notes about 2012-14 cycle of NZ threat classification for Reptiles: (Hitchmough, et al.
  • 2012): Few scattered records from Nelson, the West Coast and Wellington, very few from Taranaki - likely to be declining.
  • Secure on islands in the Sounds and likely to be stable.
  • Half of total population is likely to still be on the mainland, and declining.
  • Recovery on Mana following mouse eradication suggests high vulnerability to rodent predation.

Statistical information and distribution map

  Before 1988 Since 1988
Live Specimen 174 467
Dead Specimen 0 7
Bone 1 0
Total 175 474

  Live or dead specimen or shed skin
  Bone or fossil

glossy brown skink Distribution Map.'
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