Subspecies

All blue tongue skinks belong to the genus Tiliqua, which can be found throughout Indonesia and Australia. This is a brief overview of 11 commercially available blue tongue skink subspecies, with a few notes on each. Pricing information is based on United States availability. It should be noted that Australian species are much more difficult to acquire (in the US) due to strict exportation laws.

Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink Subspecies

Wild caught animals are referred to as “WC,” and captive bred are referred to as “CB.” All Indonesian blue tongue skink subspecies are typically wild caught (WC), since exporting animals out of Indonesia is not illegal.

Classic Indonesian (Tiliqua gigas gigas):

Classic Indonesians are identifiable by their earthy green or yellow coloring. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB

Classic Indonesian blue tongue skink from Ophidiophile Farms - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: David Zaius of Ophidiophile Farms

Halmahera Indonesian (Tiliqua gigas gigas):

Though they are the same subspecies as the Classic, Halmaheras are recognized as different because of their reddish coloring and  different scale pattern. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB

Halmahera blue tongue skink - Reptifiles

Photo credit: Dakota Nivens

Irian Jaya (Tiliqua ssp):

Irian Jayas are the oddballs of the Tiliqua genus. They’re not considered “true” blue tongue skinks, but they’re categorized under “Tiliqua” because scientists don’t know what to do with them yet. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB 

Irian Jaya blue tongue skink - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Chris Zander McDaniels

Kei Island (Tiliqua gigas keyensis):

Kei Island blue tongues are another subspecies of Tiliqua gigas. But they are one of my favorites, distinguished by their unique freckled appearance. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB 

Kei Island blue tongue skink - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: David Zaius of Ophidiophile Farms

Merauke (Tiliqua gigas evanescens):

Yet another subspecies of Tiliqua gigas. They can be distinguished by the freckling on their arms and salmon orange-colored belly. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB

Merauke blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Mariah Healey of ReptiFiles

Tanimbar (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera):

Tanimbars are known for their extremely hard and glossy scales, with a feisty temperament to boot. They’re also known for producing large clutches of over 20 live-born babies. $175-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB 

Tanimbar blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Diana Mason

Australian Blue Tongue Skink Subspecies

Australian species of blue tongue skink are more difficult to get in the United States, as extremely strict laws all but prevent export. So while they tend to be more tame due to captive breeding, they are also much more expensive.

Blotched (Tiliqua nigrolutea):

Blotched blue tongues grow up to 24 inches long and tend to have longer lifespans—up to 30 years (Kaplan). They’re absolutely gorgeous, so they’re not cheap:  $2000-$2500

Blotched blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: David Zaius of Ophidiophile Farms

Centralian (Tiliqua multifasciata):

Centralian blueys grow about 15-18 inches long, with a short tail and large head (Kaplan). $4500-$5000 

Centralian blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Benjamint444 from Wikimedia Commons

Eastern (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides):

Eastern skinks grow about 18-24 inches long and are the most common blue tongue skink in Australia. $750-$800 

Eastern blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Diana Mason

Northern (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia):

Northerns are the most popular blue tongue skink species, having become very tame through generations of captive breeding. They are the easiest Australian species to find in the United States, and they grow up to 24 inches long. $250-$350. 

Northern blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Melissa Hall

Shingleback/Bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa):

Shingleback skinks feature distinctive bumpy scales, with a stumpy tail that can’t be dropped. Further unlike other blue tongues, young are raised in family colonies, and they mate for life. $4000-$5000

Shingleback blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Kin Fong

Western (Tiliqua occipitalis):

Western blue tongues feature a notably short tail and grow up to 20 inches long. $4500

Western blue tongue skink subspecies - ReptiFiles

Photo credit: Stephen Goodfield


Can’t get enough? Subspecies are just the beginning! Here is a video by renowned blue tongue skink breeder Joe Ball on his projects with blue tongue skink morphs:

 

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