Lizards like to keep it in the family

Australian skinks live in nuclear families

Source: Emma Young
New Scientist no 2386 March 15 2003 p20

Australian black rock skinks have been studied by Sydney University researchers, who have found that they live in nuclear family groups, the only known reptile to live as a stable nuclear family. The researchers studied 200 skinks from New South Wales. They found that around 83% of groups with two or more adults included a mating pair, while 65% of juvenile skinks were with one or both parents, and some 66% of these youngsters lived with both parents.

Reptiles tend not to look after their children, but staying close to parents can help a youngster avoid being eaten, since these skinks tend to eat unrelated youngsters. Black rock skinks that survive to adulthood have an average lifespan from 10 to 15-years-old.