Common name: Yellow-bellied Water-skink. SVL 80mm; Total Length 200mm
Yellow-bellied or Heatwole’s Water-skink is one of about fifteen species of water-skink (Egernia) found in Australia. Water-skinks belong to the Sphenomorphus Group of skinks. Three other species are found in the Canberra region, the Alpine Water-skink (E. kosciusko), the Southern Water-skink (E. tympanum), and the Eastern Water-skink (E. quoyii).
Water-skinks are mostly found along waterways, including bogs by the Alpine Water-skink. Rocky areas in and near water are also favoured.
Species are similar in appearance and size with a SVL 80mm and Total length 200mm. The Eastern Water-skink is larger with SVL of 100mm and Total Length of 220.
The Alpine Water-skin has distinctive dorsal (back) and dorsal-lateral (between back and side) stripes. The other species have bronze-brown, with small black flecks, backs.
It is possible to distinguish the Southern from Yellow-bellied Water-skin, as the underparts are whitish in the former and yellowish in the latter. The backs of the Southern Water-skink are sometimes heavily flecked. Sometimes the flecks on the back of the Yellow-bellied Water-skin join to form narrow stripes.
It is possibly to distinguish between the Yellow-bellied and Easter Water-skink as the head of the former is usually spotted or flecked, while the later has a few scattered flecks. Also, the former usually has white spots on its temples and cheeks while the later doesn’t, and the former has a pale streak above the eye to above the ear, the later rarely does.
Distribution: The Alpine Water-skink prefers alpine and high montane areas, the Southern Water-skink prefers lower montane areas, the Yellow-bellied Water-skink prefers intermediate areas between montane and lower areas, and the Eastern Water-skink is mostly confined to coastal areas. Species overlap, Alpine with Southern, Southern with Yellowed-bellied, and Yellow-bellied with Eastern. The Eastern Water-skink is rare in the tablelands and is largely confined to the coast.
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