For several years Australian herpetologists familiar with the lizards of northeastern Queensland have been aware that there was a large undescribed species of skink associated with the rainforests between Cooktown and the Tully River on the Atherton Tableland. The new species was recognized to be similar to Sphenomorphus nigricaudis a Papuan-Australian species that reaches the southern limit of its distribution at the base of Cape York Peninsula (Cogger 1975 and Greer 1979). The new species was never collected in large numbers, but over the years the number of specimens has slowly grown to where there are now a total of 36. I have recently examined all of this material and in this paper I present a formal description of the species, summarize its natural history and discuss its relationships.
In naming the species I wish to draw attention to the dusky brown tail that characterizes most large specimens and hence I propose the name