Whilst skinks generally have smooth scales, this species, the Gidgee Skink (Egernia stokesii) has evolved rough spiny scales so that it can better defend itself against potential predators.

By moving into narrow crevices in the rocks, or tree splits and hollows, and inflating its body with air, the spiny scales act like little hooks and prevent the lizard from being pulled from its refuge.

Source: Alice Springs Reptile Centre

Common name
Gidgee skink, Stokes’s Skink, Stokes’s egernia, Spiny-tailed Skin.

This species are known to live together in groups, forming long-term and stable relationships, unusual in the order Squamata.

They are found in semi-arid regions, there being three recognised subspecies. The species E. stokesii have been found in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Genus: Egernia
  • Species: E. stokesii
  • Binomial name: Egernia stokesii
  • Subspecies:
    E. stokesii badia
    E. stokesii zellingi
    E. stokesii stokesii
  • Synonyms:
    Silubosaurus stokesii
    Silubosaurus zellingi
    Egernia stokesii