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

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.

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.

It is named after Admiral John Lort Stokes who served with Charles Darwin and charted the Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Western Australia) on the HMS Beagle.


  • 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

Footnote & References

  1. Gidgee Skink, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/reptiles/gidgee-skink/
  2. Gidgee Skink, Egernia stokesii, Compiler Cindy Jackson, Lecturers Graeme Phipps, NSW FMPA, Index of /Husbandry Manuals/Published Manuals/Reptilia, http://nswfmpa.org/Husbandry%20Manuals/Published%20Manuals/Reptilia/Gidgee%20Skink.pdf