Doumergue's skink (Chalcides parallelus)

Doumergue's skink on a rock
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Doumergue's skink fact file

Doumergue's skink description

GenusChalcides (1)

A typical skink in appearance, with an elongated, roughly cylindrical body, smooth scales and reduced limbs, Doumergue’s skink (Chalcides parallelus) is a medium-sized species, with a fairly short head, rounded snout, short toes, and a tail that is a little longer than the head and body (2) (3) (4) (5).

The upperparts of Doumergue's skink are beige-grey to dark brown, with a series of more or less continuous light stripes running the length of the body, formed by the alignment of the light centres, or ocelli (‘eye spots’), of the scales. These stripes may sometimes be interrupted by brownish, unspotted scales, or in some rare individuals may be completely absent, while on the tail the ocelli are arranged in transverse rows (running across rather than along its length). The neck, flanks and legs of Doumergue's skink are also faintly striped or spotted, while its underparts are uniformly whitish to grey. The scales of the head are beige-grey, with partially black rear margins (2) (5).

Since its discovery in the early 20th century, Doumergue’s skink has often been confused with other Chalcides species (3). It occurs alongside the ocellated skink (Chalcides ocellatus), from which is can be distinguished by its smaller size and by the continuous lines on its neck, and the many-scaled cylindrical skink (Chalcides polylepis), which is larger, has fainter ocelli, and, as the name suggests, has a greater number of scales (2) (5).

Chalcides polylepis.
Seps De Doumergue.
Eslizón De Chafarinas.
Length: up to 9.1 cm (2)

Doumergue's skink biology

Like other members of the genus, Doumergue’s skink gives birth to live young, and litter size may be small, at around three to four (1) (2) (5) (8). Very little other information is available on the biology of this poorly known reptile, although it is likely, like most other skinks, to be active during the day, and to forage for a range of invertebrate prey. Some skinks will defend burrows or basking sites, and males often become aggressive towards each other during the breeding season (4).


Doumergue's skink range

Doumergue’s skink occurs along a narrow coastal strip of North Africa, approximately 250 kilometres long by just 3 kilometres wide, running from Nador in north-eastern Morocco, to Cape Carbón in north-western Algeria. It is also found on the nearby Chafarinas islands (Spain) (1) (2) (3) (5) (6). The species is thought to have the smallest distribution of all Chalcides skinks (7), being known only from a limited number of locations, and with a range that is likely to be highly discontinuous (3).


Doumergue's skink habitat

Doumergue’s skink is a coastal species, found at elevations up to no more than 30 metres above sea level (1) (3). It inhabits areas of loose soil or sand, as well as overgrown dunes with typical Mediterranean vegetation and plantations of pine and Eucalyptus (1) (2) (3) (5). Individuals usually take shelter amongst or beneath stones (1) (5).


Doumergue's skink status

Doumergue's skink is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Doumergue's skink threats

Relatively little is known about the threats to Doumergue's skink. It is believed to be uncommon within its narrow and severely fragmented range, and is likely to be under threat from the development of coastal areas for tourism and military purposes. Its habitat may also be declining in quality, for example through the removal of ground cover as driftwood is collected for fuel. The species is not known to exist in modified habitats (1).

In the Chafarinas, Doumergue’s skink was previously known from all three islands, but may now be confined to just one. However, the reasons for this are unclear (3).


Doumergue's skink conservation

Doumergue’s skink occurs in the Chafarine Hunting Reserve in the Chafarinas islands, Spain, as well as in the Sebkha Bou Areg and Embouchure Moulouya protected areas in Morocco (1). However, no specific conservation measures are known to be in place for this small reptile, and further research into its ecology, life history, and the threats it faces are likely to be needed if the species is to be given effective protection.


Find out more

To find out more about this and other skink species see:

  • Schleich, H.H., Kästle, W. and Kabisch, K. (1995) Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa. Koeltz Scientific Books, Koenigstein, Germany.
  • Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • The Reptile Database:


This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones), echinoderms, and others.


  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
  2. Caputo, V. and Mellado, J. (1992) A new species of Chalcides (Reptilia: Scincidae) from northeastern Morocco. Bolletino di Zoologia, 59: 335-342.
  3. Pleguezuelos, J.M., Márquez, R. and Lizana, M. (2002) Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Anfibios y Reptiles de España. Dirrección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza - Asociación Herpetologica Española, Madrid. Available at:
  4. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Schleich, H.H., Kästle, W. and Kabisch, K. (1995) Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa. Koeltz Scientific Books, Koenigstein, Germany.
  6. J The Reptile Database:
  7. Carranza, S., Arnold, E.N., Geniez, Ph., Roca, J. and Mateo, J.A. (2008) Radiation, multiple dispersal and parallelism in the skinks, Chalcides and Sphenops (Squamata: Scincidae), with comments on Scincus and Scincopus and the age of the Sahara Desert. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 46: 1071-1094.
  8. Caputo, V., Guarino, F.M. and Angelini, F. (2000) Body elongation and placentome evolution in the scincid lizard genus Chalcides (Squamata, Scincidae). Italian Journal of Zoology, 67: 385-391.

Image credit

Doumergue's skink on a rock  
Doumergue's skink on a rock

© Emilio Civantos

Emilio Civantos


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