The eye catching Lined Firetail Skink (Morethia ruficauda), has a bright red tail and brilliant cream dorso-lateral stripe that stretches along the length of its glossy black body. The cream coloured stripe starts from it’s nose, then above and below it’s eyes, along the body and merging into the red tail at the hind limbs. The underside of the skink’s body is a white/cream colour.

Lined Firetail Skink (Morethia ruficauda)
Lined Firetail Skink (Morethia ruficauda)

This is a small Australian lizard found in Central Australia through the arid and northwest region up into the Top End of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.

It’s name is derived from the scientific name, ruficauda, meaning ‘red tail‘.

Common name
Lined Firetail Skink, Lined Fire-tailed Skink, Fire-tailed Skink.

The lined firetail skink breeds in the dry season and lays only a handful of eggs (one to three eggs) in each clutch.

It is active during the day, a swift moving and alert species that lives on the ground. As with most small skinks it feeds on insects and other small arthropods. The Lined Firetail Skink is also known to eat ants.

There are two subspecies of lined firetail skink. Morethia ruficauda exquisita (is known as the exquisite fire-tail skink) and is distinguished from Morethia ruficauda ruficauda by the light stripe running along the top of its back1.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Genus: Morethia
  • Species: M. ruficauda
  • Binomial name: Morethia ruficauda

Footnote & References

  1. Morethia ruficauda exquisita, Western Australian Museum Field Guides & Catalogues – http://museum.wa.gov.au/catalogues-beta/digitised-types/herpetology/morethia-ruficauda-exquisita
  2. Lined firetail skink, ARKIVE – http://sarkive.com/reptiles/morethia-ruficauda/