Species page of Chalcides colosii

Colosi’s Cylindrical Skink
Chalcides colosii Lanza, 1957

By Francisco Jimenez-Cazalla

Updated: 23/09/2012

Taxonomy: Sauria | Scincidae | Chalcides | Chalcides colosii

Chalcides colosii
Adult. Península Tingitana. Photo: © Francisco Jiménez-Cazalla.

Range map of Chalcides colosii

  Chalcides colosii

Distribution map of
Chalcides colosii
in Morocco.



Gallery: 7 photos. [ENTER]



Chalcides colosii
Head detail. Rif. Photo: © G. Booth-Rea.

Small to medium size skink, with a head-body length between 64 and 114 mm. The average is about 85 mm. (Schleich et al., 1996, Mateo et al., 2003). Pentadactyl and small tips. Head broad with rounded snout. Smooth and shiny dorsal scales in a number between 30-33 around the body (Mateo et al., 2003). Cephalic pholidosis similar to other species of the ocellatus complex, with large front scale and 4 supralabials scale prior to the infraocular scale.

Brown dorsal coloration, with two black longitudinal bands on both sides of the body ranging from head to rear. Between these and the back another color band appears more clearly, often golden brown off. Tips usually darker than the back. Presents usually labial scales more or less white stained, these spots extending to the tympanic cavity. Young individuals may have more or less conspicuous ocelli. In eastern populations there is a tendency to be uniform in color, appearing individuals who lack the black side bands, or where they are just in the head and neck (Mateo et al., 2003).

Ecology and habits

Diurnal species, with known crepuscular activity in the summer (Schleich et al., 1996). It has great speed and agility, allowing it to run efficiently in case of danger. No references were found on food or annual cycle of reproduction in the literature.

Chalcides colosii
Juvenile. Between Bou-Ahmed and Torres de Alcala. Rif. Photo: © Francisco Jiménez-Cazalla.

Distribution, habitat and abundance

Endemic to the Rif region. Their presence is known from Tangier to the outskirts of Melilla, and south to Ouezzane (Bons & Geniez, 1996; Mateo et al., 2003). Primarily concerned with the humid and subhumid bioclimatic zones, and not usually present in areas with rainfall below 600 mm annually. In the Doñana Biological Station are preserved several specimens from Melilla, which is also included in the semi-arid zone. Altitudinally is present from sea level to 1500 m. (Fahd & Pleguezuelos, 1996).

It’s often found in forest environments, bypassing the closed areas and preferring the margins, and clear-served areas, often on slopes and stony areas. It´s also found in gardens, scrubland and gallery forests (Fahd & Pleguezuelos, 1996 ). This species has been found in ruins located on the beach, just meters from where the waves break and surrounded by a rocky environment with little vegetation cover (Jiménez-Cazalla, obs. pers.).

Habitat examples where the species was found. From top to bottom: Tingitana Peninsula. Detail of the typical habitat: clarified cork. Rif coastal area Photos: © Francisco Jiménez-Cazalla.

Deforestation and overgrazing is causing isolation and regression of their populations in much of their limited range. (Pleguezuelos et al., 2002, Mateo et al., 2003).


    • Bons, J. y Geniez, P. 1996. Anfibios y Reptiles de Marruecos (Incluido Sahara Occidental). Atlas Biogeográfico. Asociación Herpetológica Española. Barcelona. 319 pp.
    • Fahd, S. y Pleguezuelos, J.M. 1996. Los Reptiles del Rif (norte de Marruecos), I: Quelonios, Saurios. Revista Española de Herpetología, 10: 55-8
    • Mateo, J.A.; Pleguezuelos, J.M.; Fahd, S.; Geniez, P. y Martínez–Medina, F.J. 2003. Los Anfibios, los Reptiles y el Estrecho de Gibraltar. Un ensayo sobre la herpetofauna de Ceuta y su entorno. Instituto de Estudios Ceutíes. Ceuta. 388 pp.
    • Mateo Miras, J-A.; Joger, U.; Pleguezuelos, J.; Slimani, T. y Martínez-Solano, I. 2008. Chalcides colosii. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 14 March 2011.
    • Pleguezuelos, J. M.; Márquez, R. y Lizana, M. 2002. Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Anfibios y Reptiles de España. Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. 585 pp.
    • Schleich, H.H.; Kästle, W. y Kabisch, K. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa. Biology, Systematics, Field Guide. Koeltz Scientific Books. 630 pp.

To cite this page:
Francisco Jimenez-Cazalla (2012): Chalcides colosii Lanza, 1957. In: Martínez, G., León, R., Jiménez-Robles, O., González De la Vega, J. P., Gabari, V., Rebollo, B., Sánchez-Tójar, A., Fernández-Cardenete, J. R., Gállego, J. (Eds.). Moroccoherps. Amphibians and Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara. Available from www.moroccoherps.com/en/ficha/Chalcides_colosii/. Version 23/09/2012.

To cite www.morocoherps.com en as a whole:
Martínez, G., León, R., Jiménez-Robles, O., González De la Vega, J.P., Gabari, V., Rebollo, B., Sánchez-Tójar, A., Fernández-Cardenete, J.R., Gállego, J. (Eds.). Moroccoherps. Amphibians and Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara. Available from www.moroccoherps.com.