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Species profile—Praeteropus brevicollis (short-necked worm-skink)


Animalia (animals) → Reptilia (reptiles) → Scincidae (skinks) → Praeteropus brevicollis (short-necked worm-skink)

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Species details

Animalia (animals)
Reptilia (reptiles)
Scincidae (skinks)
Scientific name
Praeteropus brevicollis Greer & Cogger, 1985
Common name
short-necked worm-skink
WildNet taxon ID
Anomalopus brevicollis
Alternate name(s)
Capricorn worm-skink
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Least concern
Conservation significant
Pest status
A. brevicollis is totally limbless and reaches a maximum size of about 16cm (snout vent 80mm, tail length 80mm). It is pale brown above, with its colouration darkening towards the head and the tail. The tail is uniform black at its tip. The scales on the upper body surface are flecked in brown. These flecks tend to be aligned, giving the impression of faint longitudinal stripes along the length of the body. The underside is white or flesh coloured with the chin and throat spotted with dark brown. (Cogger 2000; Wilson & Swan 2003).
This species is endemic to Queensland, being found from Mt Abbot/Bowen, central coast Queensland south to the Gladstone area, south-east Queensland and inland to Clermont and Theodore. (Cogger 2000; Couper et al. 2000).
Distributional limits
-21.6, 147.0333333
-25.3, 150.5833333
Range derivation
Range derived from extent of the taxon's verified records
This skink is found in well-mulched friable soil under logs, rock and leaf litter in open dry sclerophyll forest to rainforest habitats (e.g. rainforest, vine scrub, semi-evergreen vine thicket, monsoon forest). They are found on sand and cracking clay based soils and rock outcrops. There is some preference for habitat ecotones (where two habitats meet) at 250-1000m above sea level. (Greer & Cogger 1985; Wilson & Knowles 1988; Ehmann 1992; Covacevich & McDonald 1993; Cogger 2000).
The short-necked worm-skink is fossorial (burrowing) and cryptic (secretive). When disturbed, this skink will burrow deep into soft substrates or rock crevices. Other members of this genus create a system of permanent burrows. They also forage in dense mulch under the shelter of rocks and logs. (Greer & Cogger 1985; Wilson & Knowles 1988; Ehman, 1992).
Short-necked worm skinks lay 1-2 eggs per clutch between August and September. Gestation time is not known. (Greer & Cogger 1985).
This species in assumed to feed on terrestrial arthropods (Cogger et al. 1983).
Threatening processes
Known : None confirmed.
Suspected : 1. Destruction of habitat due to clearing, grazing and inappropriate fire regime (QPWS 2001). Similar threats listed for congener A. verreauxii in north-east New South Wales (Gilmore & Parnaby 1994).
2. Disturbance to microhabitat by removal of surface rocks and impact of feral pigs (QPWS 2001).
3. In vine thickets - soil compaction and removal of understorey by camping Black-striped Wallabies (BBS Fauna Workshop in lit.).
Status notes
Rare - Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Management recommendations
Undertake surveys of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion to more adequately assess the distribution, status and conservation needs of this and other threatened reptile species of the region.
Contributors: Barney Hines 11/06/1998; David McFarland 26/10/2007; Mellisa Mayhew 17/07/2008; Wayne Martin 19/08/2008; 13/10/2021.
Cogger, H.G. (2000). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia (Sixth Edition). Reed New Holland, Sydney.
Cogger, H.G., Cameron, E.E. & Cogger, H.M. (1983). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 1 Amphibia and Reptilia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Janetzki, H. & McDonald, K. (2000). Lizards. In : Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland. (Ed. Ryan, M.), pp. 202-233. Queensland Museum: Brisbane.
Covacevich, J.A. & McDonald. K.R. (1993). Distribution and conservation of frogs and reptiles of Queensland rainforests. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 34, 189-199.
Ehmann, H. (1992). Encyclopedia of Australian Animals: Reptiles. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Gilmore, A. & Parnaby, H. (1994). Vertebrate fauna of conservation concern in north-east NSW forests. North East Forests Biodiversity Study Report No. 3e, unpublished report, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Greer, A.E. & Cogger, H.G. (1985). Systematics of the reduce-limbed and limbless skinks currently assigned to the genus Anomalopus (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Records of the Australian Museum 37, 11-54.
Hutchinson, M.N, Couper, P., Amey, A. & Worthington Wilmer, J. (2021). Diversity and systematics of limbless skinks (Anomalopus) from eastern Australia and the skeletal changes that accompany the substrate swimming body form. Journal of Herpetology 55(4), 361-384.
McFarland, D.C. (2007). Taxon Profiles Version 2.0: Threatened And Priority Fauna Taxa In Queensland: Biology And Distribution. Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.
QPWS (2001). Anomalopus brevicollis. Species Management Profile, Species Management Manual Vol. 2. Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service, Forest Management, Brisbane.
Wilson, S. & Swan, G. (2003). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Reed New Holland, Sydney.
Wilson, S.K. & Knowles, D.G. (1988). Australia's Reptiles A Photographic Reference to the Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia. Collins, Sydney.
Profile author
David McFarland (13/10/2021)

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Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0.

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Last updated
20 May 2024