Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Dinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles » Skinks: Scincidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Skinks And People, Conservation Status, Prehensile-tailed Skink (corucia Zebrata): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET

Skinks: Scincidae - Sandfish (scincus Scincus): Species Accounts

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Physical characteristics: Sandfish are light brown lizards with slightly darker brown bands down the back. They have a pointed snout and thin legs ending in fringed toes that help them run on shifting sands. Adult sandfish usually reach about 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) in length, including the short tail.

Geographic range: Sandfish can be found in northern Africa, Iraq, Iran, Israel, and Jordan.

Habitat: Although they live in deserts, sandfish tend to live near a moister area, such as an oasis, which has loose sand and many plants.

When it feels threatened, the sandfish dives headfirst into the sandy ground and swims below the surface of the sand. (Illustration by Barbara Duperron. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Sandfish eat insects, scorpions, and other invertebrates, and an occasional small lizard. They move their arms and legs in a motion that allows them to "swim" through and just below the surface of the sand. From this position, they snatch unsuspecting insects walking on the ground above them. They also eat flowers and grains.

Behavior and reproduction: Active during the day, this lizard is best known for the way it escapes attackers. When it feels threatened, the sandfish dives headfirst into the sandy ground and swims below the surface of the sand. After a June breeding season, female sandfish lay about six eggs.

Sandfish and people: Native people hunt sandfish for their meat. At one time, people believed that dead dried sandfish could cure various diseases.

Conservation status: This species is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎



Badger, D. Lizards: A Natural History of Some Uncommon Creatures— Extraordinary Chameleons, Iguanas, Geckos, and More. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 2002.

Greer, Allen E. The Biology and Evolution of Australian Lizards. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty and Sons, 1989.

Hutchinson, M. N. "Family Scincidae." In Fauna of Australia. Vol. 2A, Amphibia and Reptilia, edited by C. J. Gasby, C. J. Ross, and P. L. Beesly. Canberra: Australian Biological and Environmental Survey, 1993.

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1989.

Pianka, E. R. Ecology and Natural History of Desert Lizards: Analyses of the Ecological Niche and Community Structure. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Pianka, E. R., and L. J. Vitt. Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

Storr, G. M., L. A. Smith, and R. E. Johnstone. Lizards of Western Australia. Vol. 1, Skinks. Perth: Western Australian Museum, 1999.


"Black Market Animals: The Stealing, Smuggling and Selling of Endangered Species as Pets is a $10 Billion Illegal Business Worldwide." Current Events, a Weekly Reader publication (April 14, 1997): 2A.

Geschickter, Jacqueline. "Say Ahhhh!" National Geographic World (November 2000): 31.

Thompson, Sharon. "Attention, Lizard Parents!" National Geographic World (May 2002): 6.

Web sites

"Blue-tongued Skink." Enchanted Learning. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/reptiles/lizard/Bluetonguedskink.shtml (accessed on November 3, 2004).

"Eastern Water Skink." Australian Museum. http://www.amonline.net.au/wild_kids/freshwater/water_skink.htm (accessed on November 3, 2004).

"Many-lined Skink." Yahooligans! Animals. http://yahooligans.yahoo.com/content/animals/species/4414.html (accessed on November 3, 2004).

Vanwormer, E. 2002. "Eumeces fasciatus (five-lined skink)." Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eumeces_fasciatus.html (accessed on November 03, 2004).

Other sources

McCoy, Mike. Reptiles of the Solomon Islands. CD-ROM. Kuranda, Australia: ZooGraphics, 2000.

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about 10 years ago

the links for this site were amazing, they really helped with more things than i had expected. the simple formatting is very helpful, and i loved finding out about this intruiging species! thankyou!

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about 10 years ago

this was really useful, i found all the information i needed for my project from this website in seconds! it's saved me God knows how many hours of extra work! THANKYOU!