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Feeding ecology of the Tasmanian spotted skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus (Squamata: Scincidae)


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Wapstra, E and Swain, R 1996 , 'Feeding ecology of the Tasmanian spotted skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus (Squamata: Scincidae)' , Australian Journal of Zoology, vol. 44, no. 2 , pp. 205-213 , doi: 10.1071/ZO9960205.

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The feeding ecology of the spotted skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus, was examined over a 6-month period,
from October to March, with additional data from one sample in midwinter. The investigation considered
feeding activity, dietary composition and foraging strategy. Feeding activity, measured by stomach fullness,
was unrelated to age, sex or reproductive status and showed little variation during the warmer months; in
winter feeding was greatly reduced. N. ocellatus exhibits flexible foraging behaviour; a wide variety of
terrestrial arthropods is taken opportunistically in accordance with a wide ranging foraging strategy.
However, the consistent occurrence of cryptic and hidden prey indicates that active search foraging is also
utilised. No evidence for ambush predation was found and, unlike many other small skinks, few arboreal or
aerial prey are included in the diet, even though the habitat is rock scree and woodland where such prey
abound. No evidence for any intraspecific partitioning of diet based on kind or size of prey was obtained
although a slight, but significant, correlation exists between maximum prey size and lizard size.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wapstra, E and Swain, R
Keywords: foraging behavior; activity patterns; food selection; seasonal variations; Niveoscincus ocellatus; Australia, Tasmania
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Zoology
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/ZO9960205
Additional Information:

Copyright 1996, CSIRO. Definitive version is available online at

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