Phoboscincus bocourti (Brocchi, 1876:95)

Terror skink, Bocourt's giant skink, Bocourt's terrific skink, Bocourt's eyelid skink, Scinque terrifiant de Bocourt



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Eumeces bocourti Brocchi, 1876:95


Conservation Status

Last record: c.1872

Rediscovered in December 2003

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered


Historical disappearance and rediscovery

"An extraordinary example of a rediscovered species is Bocourt's Terrific Skink Phoboscincus bocourti (Brocchi, 1876). It was only known from its holotype (supplementary Fig. S1), captured around 1870 in New Caledonia with no further precise locality data, but most likely captured on the largest island called Grande Terre. In 2000, a juvenile was found dead, but not collected, on the beach on an islet off Île des Pins. It was likely prey dropped by a raptor. The first live and immediately correctly identified specimen was found in 2003 by one of us (II) and released. Subsequently one individual was captured and released in 2005, (II), seven other specimens (three captured and released and four more were photographed) in 2012 (by, MH and II), and another individual, illegally collected, in 2018."

(Jowers et al., 2022)


Current population status

The IUCN RedList's 2017 assessment of the species reported that the "total number of individuals estimated to be below 100" (Sadlier et al., 2021).



satellite islet off Île des Pins (=Isle of Pines), New Caledonia


"P. bocourti is restricted to one satellite islet of the Isle of Pins (less than 1 km2 area). Although this species is most likely present in several other surrounding islets, it is one of the most geographically restricted endemic skink species in the world."

(Jowers et al., 2022)


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Brocchi, M. (1876). Sur un Scincoiden noureau appartenant au genre Eumeces. Bulletin Societe Philomathique de Paris (6) 12: 95-97.


Other references:

Bauer, A. M. and Sadlier, R. A. (2000). The Herpetofauna of New Caledonia. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.

Caut, S., Holden, M., Jowers, M. J., Boistel, R. and Ineich, Ivan. (2013). Is Bocourt’s Terrific Skink Really So Terrific? Trophic Myth and Reality. PLoS ONE 8(10): e78638.

Greer, A. E. (1974). The Generic Relationships of the Scincid Lizard Genus Leiolopisma and its Relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology Supplement, 31: 1-67.

Ineich, Ivan. (2006). Bocourt's terrific skink of New Caledonia is not extinct! Oryx 40(2): 136.

Ineich, Ivan. (2009). Bocourt’s terrific skink, Phoboscincus bocourti Brocchi, 1876 (Squamata, Scincidae, Lygosominae). Zoologia Neocaledonica 7, Mémoires du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle 198: 149-174.

Ineich I, Sadlier RA, Bauer AM (In Press, 2013) The Validity of the New Caledonian Skink Genus Phoboscincus and the Affinities of Phoboscincus bocourti (Brocchi, 1876). Zoologia Neocaledonica. Biodiversity studies in New Caledonia, Mémoires du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

Jourdan, H., de Méringo, H., Millot, A.S. and Machful, P. (2014). Enjeux de conservation des reptiles de l'île des Pins et des îlots périphériques et interactions avec les principales espèces animales envahissantes. province Sud - IRD IMBE.

Jowers, Michael J. et al. (2022). The Terrific Skink bite force suggests insularity as a likely driver to exceptional resource use. Scientific Reports 12: 4596.

Sadlier, Ross A. (1987). A review of the scincid lizards of New Caledonia. Records of the Australian Museum 39(1): 1-66.

Sadlier, R.A., Bauer, A.M., Jourdan , H., Astrongatt, S., Deuss, M., Duval, T., Bourguet, E., McCoy, S., Bouteiller, A. and Lagrange, A. (2021). Phoboscincus bocourti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T17008A123246644. Accessed on 09 September 2023.

Sadlier, R.A., Whitaker, A.H. and Bauer, A.M. (2010). Phoboscincus bocourti. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. ( Downloaded on 13 December 2013.

Thibault, M., Brescia, F., Vidal, E. and Jourdan, H. (2017). Invasive rodents, an overlooked threat for skinks in a tropical island hotspot of biodiversity. New Zealand Ecological Society 41: 74-83.


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