Ever wondered what the different blue tongue skink types are? Well, it’s a topic widely searched and studied by people around the globe; yet the information on the kinds, morphs, and subspecies of the blue-tongue skinks is not readily available.
According to their origin and genetic mutations, blue-tongue skinks have different types and subspecies. A morph of blue-tongue skink has a different appearance because of some genetic mutation but is not a species. We’ll explain the various forms of this friendly reptile through this article.
Blue Tongue Skink Morphs Explanation
Before jumping towards different morphs of this reptile, you first need to understand what a Blue-tongue Morph is. Morph is a common word you would hear or see while researching reptiles. Morphism may occur in the wild, but the sustainability of the new breed depends on how adaptive the reptile is to the environment.
Two different ways are used to define morphs in reptiles; the first one is strictly related to the reptiles’ visual appearance and physical changes, which means the color, patterns, and size of the reptile changes based on the gene, which influences the other one. On the other hand, the second one is polygenic traits, in which animals of the same visual traits are bred to produce a new breed with a higher concentration of similar traits.
In captivity, different breeders choose two types of Blue-Tongue Skink for mating, to have a genetic mutation and produce a completely different morph. The purpose behind this process is not just to create breeds with unique colors and patterns but also to improve the lifespan and strength of the reptile.
Some Common Terms Associated With Blue Tongue Skinks
There are some standard terms associated with the Morphism of Blue-Tongue skinks, which as a beginner, you must know to understand the morphs of this reptile. So, before we dive into the morphs of the blue-tongue skinks, let’s quickly go through these specific terms.
Colour: The term color in the Blue-Tongue Skinks morphs refers to the main base color of the reptile.
Pattern: The patterns of scales, spots, or any other arrangement of colors on the Blue-Tongue Skink’s body is the reptile pattern.
Melanistic: This term refers to the black pigmentation on the reptile’s body.
Hyper: A lot of colors on the body of the Blue-Tongue Skink.
Hypo: Few or minimal colors on the body of the reptile,
Leucistic: This term refers to the color white.
Axanthical: absence of yellow and orange color.
Het: Any recessive trait but can be seen in the offspring.
Blue Tongue Skink Subspecies And Morphs
All the morphs of Blue-tongue skinks are Natives of Australia, parts of New Guinea, Tasmania, or Indonesia, and belong to Tiliqua Genus. The Blue-Tongue Skinks found in the USA and surrounding areas are primarily captive breeds because of export limitations of wildlife in Australia.
Following is a list of Common Blue-Tongue Skink’s subspecies, breeds, and morphs.
Australian Blue Tongue Subspecies
1. Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Intermedia)
One of the most abundant species of the Blue-Tongue skink is Northern Blue Tongue Skink, also known as Tiliqua Intermedia scientifically. These blueys can grow up to two feet and is the most significant and heaviest skink in the line of these reptiles.
The body of this species has strong or beige forelegs, no banding around the eyes, and have yellow or orange splotches on the sides, which makes these blueys prominent among the rest of the species.
T+ Albino (Tyrosinase Positive Albino)
This morph is created from the Northern Blue Tongue Skinks and is similar to the T-Albino, except for a few dark pigments such as purple and gray hues left on the body, named tyrosinase.
This morph is sometimes known as a hypo because the color ranges from jet white to gray and has slight banding around the eyes. This morph is further bred with T+Albino to create Sulfur Offsprings, which have subtle patterns on their bodies since they are hatchlings.
2. Eastern Blue Tongue Skinks (Tiliqua Scincoides)
This subspecies of the blue-tongue skink is similar to the western blueys in some aspects. They have distinct black banding around their eyes, fading on their bodies. This subspecies of the Blue-Tongue Skink can grow up to 19 inches long. Some of its morphs are listed below.
- T-negative Albino (tyrosinase negative albino).
3. Western Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Occipitalis)
This subspecies is distinctly known among the rest of the blueys because of their large size, as this species can grow up to 20 to 50cm in length, which is one reason why this species is not very agile. Furthermore, they have thick patterns on the body, with bold black banding around the eyes and short legs and tail.
4. Blotched Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Nigrolutea)
The Blotched Blue Tongue skinks, as evident from the name, have distinct yellow, red, and orange blotches on top of their black body, as compared to lowland blotches. This species is also long and has a long lifespan of up to 30 years.
5. Centralian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Multifasciata)
Found in the North-West corner of Australia, i.e., New South Wales, this subspecies is categorized based on their short body, large head, size up to 45cm, and a slender tail. The primary color of the body is a pale yellow to gray and a belly color ranging from pale cream to white. They also have around nine or more orange-brown bands on their body.
6. Shingleback/Bobtail Skink (Tiliqua Rugosa)
With a lifespan of up to 50 years in the wild, this species of blue-tongue skinks have armor-shaped bumpy scales on their body for protection, short tails, and dark to nearly black tongues. This subspecies has a lineage of four more species, including Northern Bobtail, Eastern Shingleback, Bobtail or Western Shingleback, and Rottenest Island Shingleback.
7. Adelaide Pygmy Blue Tongue Skinks (Tiliqua Adelaidensis)
This is one of the rarest subspecies and is short in size as compared to the other species of blue-tongue skinks. This bluey can grow up to 10 cm in length, and found in North of South Australia.
Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink Subspecies
1. Classic Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Gigas Gigas)
These Blue-Tongue Skinks can be distinguished by their solid black forelimbs, earthy yellow and greenish coloring, black markings on their heads, and sprinkling between bands. This subspecies can grow up to 50cm.
2. Merauke Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Gigas Evanescens)
With distinct patterns along the body, salmon-orange colored belly, and spots on both arms and legs, these skinks are renowned for their calm dispositions. This species of blue-tongue skink can grow up to 76cm in adulthood.
3. Halmahera Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Gigas Gigas)
These blue-tongue skinks are similar to classic Indonesian skinks, with the only difference of reddish color and thin black markings on the head of Halmahera. These blueys can sometimes be found in gray tones too.
The most basic way of identifying these skinks is by looking at the pattern on the bellies; this subspecies has a black and white or a black and pink pattern on the belly.
4. Tanimbar Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides Chimaera)
This species is famous among the other Blue-Tongue Skink subspecies because of its ability to produce large clutches of more than 20 live-born babies. These skinks have strong gray, silver, and yellow body tones and are very aggressive even though they are captive-bred.
5. Kei Island Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Gigas Keyensis)
This subspecies of the Blue-tongue skinks can grow up to 50 cm in length and have freckled skin extending until this reptile’s head.
6. Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua ssp)
This subspecies is considered rare and exhibits the physical traits of both Indonesian and Australian Blueys. The Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink can grow up to 2 feet till maturity and has a dark brown body with a golden or peach undertone.
Blue Tongue Skink Morphs Quick List
A quick review of the rest of the subspecies and morphs of the Blue-Tongue Skink is listed.
Platinum: With a shiny silvery look to stand out, this morph is created from a combination of hypermelanistic and white northern skink.
Snow: This morph has a white base color with peach or lemony hues and combines albino and black-eyed Anery.
Sunglow: This is a complete albino formed by breeding white northern and albinism.
Lava: This morph of blue-tongue skink results from breeding albino and hypermelanistic blue-tongue skink.
Blue Tongue Skink Color Change
Color changes in a Blue Tongue skink are primarily caused by the mutation and crossbreeding of two different species of this reptile. The breeding causes changes in genetic patterns of the skinks and produces offspring that comprises the physical or visual traits of both types involved in inbreeding.
In addition to this, sometimes, the change in tones of blue-tongue skink is caused by skin shedding, where most of them tend to have darker tones during this process. Research has also shown that some northern blue-tongue lizards change colors from warm brown to pink, grey, or white tones, whereas others change patterns over time with age.
When A Blue Tongue Skink Changes Color, Can It Be Considered As A Morph?
The answer to this question depends on the subspecies or morphs under discussion. If a genetic mutation causes the change in color of the morph, then it’s considered a morph. It can be identified or confirmed by checking the parents of the Blue-tongue skink in question. Otherwise, several other factors such as skin shedding, age, and environment can change the body tones of the blue-tongue skink from time to time.
Blue Tongue Skink Morphs FAQs
How Do I Know What Morph My Blue Tongue Skink Is?
The color and patterns on the Blue-tongue skink help categorize them under different morphs. You may check your reptile for the patterns and pigments to put it in the correct category.
What Is The Rarest Blue Tongue Skink?
The rarest subspecies of Blue Tongue Skinks are Adeliade Pygmy and Irian Jaya. In addition to this, if you are searching for rare morphs of this reptile, then Albino Blue-Tongue Skink is the correct answer, as it’s tough to come by this morph through breeding.
What Morph Is A Fancy Blue Tongue Skink?
While talking about “Fancy,” the mind automatically creates bright hues and distinctive patterns; however, the definition of fancy may change from one person to another depending on their liking. The Blue-Tongue Skink Lava morph is considered the fanciest morph among reptile lovers because of its bright hues and blended stripes.
The blue-tongue skink being a friendly and low-maintenance reptile, is very famous among reptile pet lovers and is highly demanded. The natural hues of this reptile are beautiful, yet the breeders continue to experiment with the different species to create colorful morphs. Several subspecies and morphs of this reptile can be found in exotic pet stores and online.
Breeders can also experiment with crossbreeding different morphs, which can sometimes get challenging, yet the results can be downright astonishing.
If you want to learn more about blue tongue skinks we recommend reading a book or two. Whether a newbie, an experienced reptile owner, or a breeder, a good reptile care book is a great help, especially when searching for information about Blue-Tongue skink morphs and caring for them.
One of the recommended options is “Blue-Tongue Skinks-From the Experts at Advanced Vivarium System” by David C. Wareham to know every detail about this reptile. It guides the newbies and the experienced breeders about housing, handling, caring, and breeding the Blue-Tongue Skinks.