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© Rune Midtgaard

Taxonomy of the family Scincidae
Bibliography of the genus Mochlus
Biodiversity of the family Scincidae


African Supple Skinks, (African Writhing Skinks)

Afrikanische Krümmenskinke

Afrikanske Vrideskinker

1864 Mochlus Günther (type species: Mochlus punctulatus Günther 1864)
1880 Sepacontias Günther (type species: Sepacontias modestus Günther 1880; syn. Freitas, Datta-Roy, Karanth, Grismer & Siler 2019)
1892 Lepidothyris [Lepidothyrus?] Cope (type species: Tiliqua fernandi Burton 1836; syn. Freitas, Datta-Roy, Karanth, Grismer & Siler 2019; Shea 2021)
1917 Paralygosoma Chabanaud (type species: Lygosoma monneti Chabanaud 1917; syn. Perret 1975 [by implication])
Contents: 19 species, of which 6 (31.6%) are endemic.
Endemism: 0% 100%
Remarks: Previously regarded as a synonym of Lygosoma (e.g., Greer 1977), but as a valid genus by others (e.g.; Mittleman 1952; Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz 2009). Revalidated as a separate genus by Freitas, Datta-Roy, Karanth, Grismer & Siler (2019), who, based on analyzed tissue samples, assigned only six species with certainty to the genus. Because tissue samples were not available for many of the remaining species previously assigned to Lygosoma, the authors retained another 13 African species in the genus Lygosoma, pending further studies. These species are, however, tentatively assigned to Mochlus herein, based on their African distribution, and because most of them have previously been assigned to or even described originally as members of this genus. Shea (2021) used the spelling Lepidothyrus instead of Lepidothyris.
Distribution: SubSaharan Africa.
Reported from: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Equatorial Guinea (Bioko, Rio Muni), Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique (incl. Bazaruto Archipelago [incl. Benguerua]), Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West Province, Northern Cape), Tanzania (incl. Mafia, Pemba, Zanzibar), Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Mochlus brevicaudis

Short-tailed Supple Skink


Korthalet Vrideskink

1985 Lygosoma brevicaudis Greer, Grandison & Barbault
Mochlus brevicaudis The Reptile Database 2015 (viewed 24 Feb)

Distribution: Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast.

Mochlus fernandi

Western Red-flanked Skink, Red-and-black Skink, (Fernand's Skink)

Westlicher Prachtskink

Vestlig Rødflanket Skink, (Fernands Slanke Skink)

1836 Tiliqua fernandi Burton
Lepidothyris fernandi Cope 1892
Riopa fernandi Smith 1937
Mochlus fernandi Mittleman 1952
Lygosoma fernandi Boulenger 1887
1845 Plestiodon harlani Hallowell (Loveridge 1957; Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz 2009)
Lepidothyris fernandi harlani Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz 2009
1885 Tiliqua nigripes Müller (Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz 2009)

Remarks: Previously included striatus and the populations now assigned to hinkeli. Status of the Rio Muni population (Lasso, Rial, Castroviejo & De La Riva 2002) needs to be verified, as it may represent striatus.
Distribution: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea (Bioko, Rio Muni), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.

Mochlus fernandi
© Rune Midtgaard

Mochlus grandisonianus

Northeastern Somali Supple Skink, Northeastern Somali Writhing Skink

Nordostsomalischer Krümmenskink

Nordøstsomalisk Vrideskink

1966 Mochlus grandisonianus Lanza & Carfi
Lygosoma grandisonianum Greer 1977

Distribution: Somalia.

Mochlus guineensis

Guinean Supple Skink, Guinean Writhing Skink, Guinean Forest Skink, (Peter's West African Forest Skink)



1879 Euprepes guineensis Peters
Riopa guineense Smith 1937
Mochlus guineensis Mittleman 1952
Riopa sundevallii guineensis Loveridge 1952
Lygosoma guineense Greer 1977
Mochlus sundevalli guineensis Hoogmoed 1980
1884 Euprepes chaperi Vaillant (Ineich & Trape 2017)
1917 Lygosoma monneti Chabanaud (Perret 1975; Greer 1977)
Paralygosoma monneti Grandison 1956

Distribution: Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Togo.

Mochlus hinkeli

Eastern Red-flanked Skink

Östlicher Prachtskink

Østlig Rødflanket Skink

2009 Lepidothyris hinkeli Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz
Mochlus hinkeli Freitas, Datta-Roy, Karanth, Grismer & Siler 2019
2009 Lepidothyris hinkeli joei Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz

Distribution: Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia.

Mochlus laeviceps

Southeastern Somali Supple Skink, Southeastern Somali Writhing Skink

Südostsomalischer Krümmenskink

Sydøstsomalisk Vrideskink

1874 Euprepes laeviceps Peters
Mochlus laeviceps Mittleman 1952
Riopa laeviceps Parker 1942
Lygosoma laeviceps Greer 1977

Remarks: Previously included paedocarinatus (e.g., Lanza & Carfi 1968).
Distribution: Somalia.

Mochlus lanceolatus

Bazaruto Supple Skink, Bazaruto Writhing Skink



1990 Lygosoma lanceolatum Broadley
Mochlus lanceolatus Midtgaard 2020 (this work)

Distribution: Mozambique (Bazaruto Archipelago [incl. Benguerua]).

Mochlus mabuiiformis

Kenya Supple Skink, Kenya Writhing Skink, Mabuya-like Writhing Skink

Kenianischer Krümmenskink

Kenyansk Vrideskink

1935 Riopa mabuiiformis Loveridge
Lygosoma mabuiiforme Greer 1977
Mochlus mabuiiforme The Reptile Database 2015 (viewed 24 Feb)

Distribution: Kenya, Somalia.

Mochlus mafianus

Mafia Supple Skink, Mafia Writhing Skink



1994 Lygosoma mafianum Broadley
Mochlus mafianus Midtgaard 2020 (this work)

Distribution: Tanzania (incl. Mafia).

Mochlus mocquardi

Chad Supple Skink, (Mocquard's Supple Skink)

Tschadischer Krümmenskink


1917 Lygosoma mocquardi Chabanaud
Riopa mocquardi Smith 1937
Mochlus mocquardi Mittleman 1952

Remarks: Hughes (1988) also listed mocquardi from Ghana [as sundevalli], but Trape, Trape & Chirio (2012) did not include this country in the distribution.
Distribution: Chad, Niger, Nigeria.

Mochlus paedocarinatus

Abyssinian Supple Skink, Abyssinian Writhing Skink, (Lanza's Writhing Skink)

Abyssinische Krümmenskink

Abyssinsk Vrideskink

1968 Mochlus laeviceps paedocarinatus Lanza & Carfi
Lygosoma paedocarinatum Lanza 1990
Mochlus paedocarinatum The Reptile Database 2015 (viewed 24 Feb)

Remarks: Recognised as a separate species by Lanza (1990) and Largen & Spawls (2006), but without discussion or references.
Distribution: Somalia.

Mochlus pembanus

Pemba Supple Skink, Pemba Writhing Skink



1913 Lygosoma pembanum Boettger
Riopa pembanum Moreau & Pakenham 1941
Mochlus pembanus Mittleman 1952

Distribution: Kenya, Tanzania (Pemba).

Mochlus productus

Southern Supple Skink, Southern Writhing Skink

Südlicher Krümmenskink

Sydlig Vrideskink

1909 Lygosoma productum Boulenger
Riopa producta Smith 1937
Squamicilia producta Mittleman 1952
Mochlus productum The Reptile Database 2015 (viewed 24 Feb)
1929 Lygosoma parisii Scortecci (Parker 1932)

Distribution: Somalia.

Mochlus simonettai

Afgoi Supple Skink, Afgoi Writhing Skink



1979 Lygosoma simonettai Lanza
Mochlus simonettai The Reptile Database 2015 (viewed 24 Feb)

Distribution: Somalia.

Mochlus somalicus

Somali Savanna Supple Skink, Somali Savanna Writhing Skink

Somalischer Savannen-Krümmenskink

Somalisk Savanne-vrideskink

1942 Riopa modesta somalica Parker
Lygosoma sundevalli somalicum Welch 1982
Lygosoma somalicum Lanza 1990
Mochlus somalicum The Reptile Database 2015 (viewed 24 Feb)

Distribution: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania.

Mochlus striatus

Central African Red-flanked Skink

Zentralafikanischer Prachtskink

Centralafrikansk Rødflanket Skink

1854 Euprepis striata Hallowell
Lepidothyris striata Cope 1892
Mochlus striatus Freitas, Datta-Roy, Karanth, Grismer & Siler 2019
1883 Euprepes elegans Fischer [not Mabuya elegans Gray 1845] (Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz 2009)
1884 Euprepes leoninus Fischer [substitute name for Euprepes elegans Fischer 1883] (Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz 2009)

Remarks: Previously regarded as a synonym of fernandi (e.g., Loveridge 1957). Revalidated by Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz (2009). Presence in Sierra Leone (type locality of leoninus) is highly doubtful (Wagner, Böhme, Pauwels & Schmitz 2009).
Distribution: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon.

Mochlus sundevallii

Common Savanna Supple Skink, Common Savanna Writhing Skink, Fat-tailed Savannah Skink, (Sundevall's Writhing Skink)

Gewöhnlicher Savannen-Krümmenskink

Almindelig Savanne-vrideskink

1849 Eumices sunderallii [sic] Smith
Eumeces sundevallii Peters 1882
Lygosoma sundevalli Boulenger 1887
Riopa sundevalli Pitman 1934
Mochlus sundevalli Mittleman 1952
1854 Eumeces afer Peters (syn. Freitas, Bauer, Siler, Broadley & Jackman 2018)
Mochlus afer Laurent & Gans 1965
Lygosoma afer Greer 1977
1864 Mochlus punctulatus Günther (Broadley & Howell 1991)
1868 Eumeces perdicolor Cope (Broadley & Howell 1991)
1870 Euprepes dumerili Steindachner (Broadley & Howell 1991)
1898 Lygosoma ferrandii Boulenger (Broadley 1966)
1862 Eumeces reticulatus Peters (Broadley 1966)
1880 Sepacontias modestus Günther (Broadley & Howell 1991)
Riopa modesta Loveridge 1957

Other common names:
afer: Mozambique Writhing Skink, (Peters' Writhing Skink, Short-legged Skink)
modesta: Brown Writhing Skink, Mpwapwa Skink
Remarks: Previously included somalicus. West African records refer to mocquardi (Trape, Trape & Chirio 2012). The taxon afer has variously been regarded as a synonym of sundevallii (e.g., Peters 1882; Boulenger 1887; Loveridge 1933; Laurent 1964), or as a separate species (Laurent & Gans 1965; Greer 1977). It is herein regarded as a synonym of sundevallii, following Freitas, Bauer, Siler, Broadley & Jackman (2018). A single record from Yemen (Scortecci 1932) is considered unreliable and needs confirmation (Arnold 1986; Gasperetti 1988).
Distribution: Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Congo-Kinshasa, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West Province, Northern Cape), Tanzania (incl. Mafia, Zanzibar), Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Mochlus tanae

Tana River Supple Skink, Tana River Writhing Skink, Tana Delta Skink


Tana River-vrideskink

1935 Riopa tanae Loveridge
Lygosoma tanae Greer 1977
Mochlus tanae The Reptile Database 2015 (viewed 24 Feb)

Distribution: Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania.

Mochlus vinciguerrae

Lugh Supple Skink, Lugh Writhing Skink, (Vinciguerra's Writhing Skink)



1932 Lygosoma vinciguerrae Parker
Riopa vinciguerrae Smith 1937
Mochlus vinciguerrae Lanza & Carfi 1968

Distribution: Ethiopia, Somalia.