Emoia nativitatis (Boulenger, 1887:516)

Christmas Island forest skink, Christmas Island whiptail-skink, Forest skink



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Lygosoma nativitatis Boulenger, 1887:516 (basionym)


Conservation Status


Last record: August 2010 (wild); 31 May 2014 (captivity)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Australia


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: closed forest, terrestrial, diurnal; oviparous, arthropod-feeder."

(Cogger et al., 1983:163)



Holotype: BMNH 1946.8.10.59 (Cogger et al., 1983:163)

Type locality: "Christmas Is., Indian Ocean" (Cogger et al., 1983:163)



A photograph of the reptile centre on Christmas Island where "Gump", the last known member of her species, is kept can be seen here:



Original scientific description:

Boulenger, G. A. (1887). Report on a zoological collection made by the officers of H.M.S. Flying Fish at Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1887: 516-517


Other references:

Andrew, P., Cogger, H., Driscoll, D., Flakus, S., Harlow, P., Maple, D., Misso, M., Pink, C., Retallick, K., Rose, K., Tiernan, B., West, J. and Woinarski, J.C.Z. 2016. Somewhat saved: a captive breeding programme for two endemic Christmas Island lizard species, now extinct in the wild. Oryx: 1-4. [Abstract]

Boulenger, G. A. (1900). Reptilia, pp. 51-54. In: Andrews, C. W. (ed.). A Monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). British Museum of Natural History, London, UK.

Brown, W. C. (1991). The lizards of the genus Emoia (Scincidae) with observations on their evolution and biogeography. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences No. 15: i-vi 1-94.

Clayton, M., Wombey, J.C., Mason, I.J., Chesser, R.T. & Wells, A. 2006. CSIRO List of Australian Vertebrates: A Reference with Conservation Status. Melbourne : CSIRO Publishing iv 162 pp.

Cogger, H. G. (1983). Reptiles and amphibians of Australia, Third Edition. Sydney: A.H. and A.W. Reed Pty. Ltd.

Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.

Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.

Cogger, Harold G., Cameron, Elizabeth E. and Cogger, Heather M. (1983). Scincidae, pp. 135-193. In: Zoological Catalogue of Australia. I. Amphibia and Reptilia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. vi + 313 pp. [p. 163]

Cogger H and Sadlier R (1981). The terrestrial reptiles of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Unpublished report to Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service, Canberra (Australian Museum, Sydney).

Cogger, H.G. and Sadlier, R.A. 1999 (2000?). The Terrestrial Reptiles of Christmas Island: A reappraisal of their status. The Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia.

Cogger, H., Sadlier, R. A. and Cameron, E. (1983). The Terrestrial Reptiles of Australia's Island Territories. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Special Publication No. 11. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra. 80 pp.

Cogger, H. & Woinarski, J. 2017. Emoia nativitatis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T178595A101749951. Downloaded on 16 December 2017.

Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384.

Director of National Parks (2012). Threatened species nomination submission for Emoia nativitatis (forest skink).

Donnellan S, Armstrong K and Potter S (2011). Christmas Island National Park centipede genetics. Report to Parks Australia (South Australian Museum, Adelaide). [reports of predation upon E. nativitatis]

Emery, Jon-Paul et al. (2021). The lost lizards of Christmas Island: A retrospective assessment of factors driving the collapse of a native reptile community. Conservation Science and Practice 3:e358. doi:

Gibson-Hill, C. A. (1947). Christmas Island – terrestrial reptiles. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum 18: 81-86.

James, D. J. 2004. Christmas Island biodiversity monitoring programme. Third Quarterly Report April-June 2004.

Low, Tim and Booth, Carol. (2023). GONE: Australian animals extinct since the 1960s. Invasive Species Council Inc.

Oliver, Paul M., Blom, M. P. K., Cogger, Hal G., Fisher, R. N., Richmond, J. Q. and Woinarski, J. C. Z. (2018). Insular biogeographic origins and high phylogenetic distinctiveness for a recently depleted lizard fauna from Christmas Island, Australia. Biol. Lett. 14: 20170696.

Rumpff H (1992). Distribution, population structure and ecological behaviour of the introduced south-east Asian wolf snake (Lycodon aulicus capucinus) on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Report to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra. [reports of predation upon [i]E. nativitatis[/i]]

Schulz M and Barker C (2008). A terrestrial reptile survey of Christmas Island, May-June 2008. Consultancy report for Parks Australia North, Christmas Island.

Smith, Donal et al. (2023). Extinct in the wild: The precarious state of Earth’s most threatened group of species. Science 379(6634): eadd2889.

Smith, Michael J., Cogger, H., Tiernan, B., Maple, D., Boland, C., Napier, F., Detto, T. and Smith, P. (2012). An oceanic island reptile community under threat: the decline of reptiles on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 7(2): 206-218.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC). (2014). Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Emoia nativitatis (Christmas Island Forest Skink). Canberra: Department of the Environment.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee. (2020). Listing Advice Emoia nativitatis Christmas Island Forest Skink. Australian Government.

Tiernan, B. (2018). The last stand: Geckoes and skinks on the brink. Wildlife Australia 55(1): 36-39.

Washington, Haydn. (2018). The last stand. Wildlife Australia 55(1): 36-39. [Abstract]

Woinarski, John C. Z., Braby, M. F., Burbidge, A. A., Coates, D., Garnett, S. T., Fensham, R. J., Legge, S. M., McKenzie, N. L., Silcock, J L. and Murphy, B. P. (2019). Reading the black book: The number, timing, distribution and causes of listed extinctions in Australia. Biological Conservation 239: 108261.

Woinarski, John and Cogger, Hal. (2013). Australian endangered species: Christmas Island Forest Skink. The Conversation, 19 September, available online:

Woinarski, John C. Z., Garnett, Stephen T., Legge, Sarah M. and Lindenmayer, David B. (2017). The contribution of policy, law, management, research, and advocacy failings to the recent extinctions of three Australian vertebrate species. Conservation Biology 31(1): 13-23. [Abstract]


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