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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 6



2. Hydrosaurus varius.

The Lace Lizard.

I believe the present striped species, and the large spotted or Gigantic Lace Lizard (H. giganteus) to be identical; this is one of the most common forms on the plains of the Murray; so common, in fact, that I have often captured half a dozen of them on my return to the camp; they were generally found basking in the sun, close to their holes, down which they disappeared with extraordinary swiftness when disturbed. They grow to a large size, as much as 7 or 8 feet long, and feed upon carrion, as well as upon living animals; on various occasions several pounds of bones, and once a large "opossum" was taken from the stomach of one of these reptiles.

Their eggs, of which they deposit some 10 or 15, are large, covered with a tough leathery membrane; the young lizards being more than 10 inches long, at the time of birth.

The present species is well distributed over almost every part of Australia.

3. Pygopus lepidopodus.

The Pygopus.

This, at first appearance, snake-like form, is occasionally met with, but not so frequently as other Lizards: its flat tongue, the two rudimentary limbs near the anus, and its ear-holes, easily distinguish it from a true snake.

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The number of eggs deposited by the present species, seldom exceeds 3 or 4, they are of very elongate form, 3 or 4 times as long as they are broad, and are generally hatched by the powerful rays of the sun in 3 or 4 weeks. This lizard also has a very wide distribution.

There has been a second species of Pygopus observed on the Murray, marked with much more brilliant colours than any hitherto known; but owing to the mutilated state of the specimen which was captured by the natives, it was found impossible to preserve it or give a correct description thereof.

4. Lialis Burtoni.

Burton's Lialis.

This is another snake-like form, with pointed muzzle, a single specimen of which came under my notice; its range is very extensive, as I have at various times received specimens from the Clarence River, and from farther north. Sir George Grey mentions its occurrence in Western Australia. In its habits, it is similar to the Pygopus.

5. Hinulia elegans.

Elegant Hinulia.

6. Hinulia Australis.

Australian Hinulia; and

7. Hinulia tenuis.

Slender Hinulia.

Are three species of Scincoid Lizards, occasionally observed. The first is generally found beneath the rough bark of trees. I believe that there are many more representatives of the genus Hinulia, but owing to their nimbleness, it was impossible to capture many of them. The number of eggs deposited by these Lizards has not been ascertained correctly; perhaps they are viviparous, and if so, may bring forth 10 to 12 young.

8. Mocoa trilineata.

New Holland Moco.

This widely distributed small Lizard has been frequently page 27 captured, it is very common under bark, or among dead leaves or branches. Its eggs are deposited among decomposed leaves in moist places, and are from 10 to 16, and perhaps more in number. I have often taken as many as 50 out of one of these breeding places, but I believe that they were the produce of several lizards.

In the neighbourhood of Sydney, where M. trilineata is very common, the eggs are generally laid between the fronds of the so called "Staghorn fern."

9. Siaphos equalis.

The Siaphos.

This is another small Lizard, with very short three-toed limbs; it frequents shady or dark places, and lays bat a limited number of eggs.

10. Trachydosaurus rugosus.

Rugose Stump-tail.

A large, lazy, and very common kind of Lizard, generally known as the "Sleeping Lizard," which frequents open sandy plains, and may be captured in large numbers during a hot summer's day.

The number of young produced, seldom exceeds 4, those dissected by me had 2 embryos only. I believe these Lizards do not inhabit the east coast, at all events they are not found near Sydney, or at the Hastings or Clarence Rivers.

In Western Australia, particularly in the neighbourhood of King George's Sound they are very common.

11. Cyclodus gigas.

Giant Cyclodus.

Whether this species is identical with the large Cyclodus of the east coast I cannot at present determine. Peters has described a Cyclodus from South Australia, and Dr. Schomburgk who discovered this new species informs me that our common Giant Cyclodus does not exist near Adelaide; if this is correct, the Cyclodus found on the Murray, would be referable to Peters' C. occipitalis.

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One or two specimens of this Lizard were captured by the natives.

I had been always under the impression that these reptiles produced 2 or perhaps 3 young only, but not long ago I dissected a large female specimen and took therefrom fifteen well formed young, each about from 5 to 6 inches long.

This species is prized by the natives as an article of food.

12. Tropidolepisma Kingii.

King's Tropidolepisma.

This species, (the smallest of the genus) is alone found on the Murray, its range extends almost from the east to the west coast, though in the immediate neighbourhood of Sydney it does not occur.

The number of eggs or young produced by this Lizard has not been ascertained.

13. Diplodactylus vittatus.

Yellow Crowned Diplodactyle.

This little Gecko is rather rare, as not more than 5 specimens were procured through the natives during my stay on the Murray; its distribution is very extensive, and, in fact, includes almost every part of Australia. The Australian Museum is in possession of specimens from the North East Coast, from the Murrumbidgee, and from South and West Australia. Near Sydney this species is tolerably common. It is oviparous, producing about 6 eggs.

14. Diplodactylus ornatus.

Beautiful Diplodactyle.

I do not think that there is another species of Lizard, so common and so widely distributed as this; every tree along the river banks harbours large numbers of them, and wherever a piece of dry bank is removed, this little Gecko is sure to be found beneath, in company with various species of Coleoptera, Blattæ, and spiders. In stony localities it frequents the shady side of rocks, &c. In its habits this Lizard is truly nocturnal.

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15. Diplodactylus ocellatus.

The Eyed Diplodactyle.

Of this rare Lizard a few solitary specimens were captured, and these were in bad preservation and scarcely to be recognized. The Museum has, however, lately received well preserved specimens from the Murrumbidgee, through the kindness of Mr. William MacLeay, M.L.A., so that I am able to enumerate this Gecko, as inhabiting the Murray Plains.

16. Phyllurus platurus.

Broad-tailed Gecko.

17. Phyllurus inermis.

Spineless Gecko.

18. Phyllurus miliusii.

Thick-tailed Gecko.

Have been obtained in the McIvor ranges and near Mount Hope; on the Murray Plains, no specimens were observed, though they may exist there. These three Geckos are common near Sydney and at the Clarence and Richmond Rivers; the last mentioned species also occurs in Western Australia.

19. Grammatophora cristata.

Crested Grammatophora.

The distribution of the present species does not extend, as far as my experience goes, beyond the mountainous districts; upon the dividing range specimens were frequently observed, but in the plain country they disappeared. The natives informed me that this lizard existed near Mount Hope, but they never captured it.

Near Sydney, where this species is common, it is generally found in the neighbourhood of water, diving into it when disturbed and remaining at the bottom for a considerable time. Specimens which I have in captivity, would lie at the bottom of a water vessel for hours without coming to the surface to breathe. I have watched one under water for more than forty minutes, I was then called away, but on my return half an hour afterwards I could not see the least indication that the lizard had stirred; page 30 again I watched it for some twenty minutes longer, and gave it up at last, the reptiles being apparently under no necessity to breathe.

20. Grammatophora moricata.

The Common Grammatophora.

This is a well-known and very common species found in nearly every part of Australia. It is fond of basking in the sun, and may be frequently observed sitting motionless on old stumps upon road side fences, &c. From 5 to 8 eggs are generally produced, and deposited in the sand.

21. Grammatophora ornata.

Yellow spotted Grammatophora.

This species is found in large number upon all the open plains, every tuft of grass .and every salt bush sheltering several of these gaily coloured creatures; they vary considerably in their markings, more so even than the previous species G. muricata. The number of eggs produced amounts to about 8.

22. Grammatophora barbata.

Bearded Grammatophora.

This formidable looking reptile is better known under the name of "Jew Lizard." It cannot be considered a common form on the Murray, but its distribution extends from the East to the West Coast; how far it ranges North I have not been able to ascertain, I know however that it occurs at Wide Bay, and is probably found all over the continent.

The number of eggs produced by this reptile is most likely from 6 to 8, perhaps more.