Scincidae constitutes the largest and most widely distributed family of lizards. Despite this abundance however, the skink family is one of the least understood. Great differences in opinion exists regarding the exact classification within the family, with the largest number of genera outlined being around sixty, and the largest number of species at more than six hundred (Pope 1955). This problem is compounded by the lack of a fossil record and knowledge about their ancestry. Two physical characters define the skink family. These are the characteristic "flat, rounded, overlapping scales generally of more or less equal size over all the body" and "osteoderms within the scales". The skink eyelid is well developed and the skink head possesses "large regular plates". Skinks do not have femoral pores (Smith 1971).
Skinks have developed many methods of locomotion. Most distinct however is the large number of species with either reduced or no limbs. In both cases, limb-supporting bones (hip and shoulder girdles) still exist in the creatures. Usually, the loss of limbs is indicative of a fossorial existence. Particularly interesting within these types of skinks are the sand skinks (Scincus) which, because of their limb reduction and other feattures like toe fringes, wedge-shaped snouts, and "countersunk lower jaws", are able to swim through the sandy medium with relative ease. Other types of skinks include the aquatic, or water-loving skinks (Tropidophorus), and the more normal forest floor dwelling species. The three widely ranging groups of skins are those in the genuses Mabuya, Lygosoma, and Eumeces. Mabuya consists of eighty-five species, its range covering from southern Mexico through South America, Africa, Madagascar, southern Asia, the Philippines, New Guinea, the West Indies, and the Malay Archipelago. Lygosoma consists of all those not in Mabuya or Eumeces. It has since been broken down into smaller groups. Skinks in general bear their youth live though exceptions exist, particular in Eumeces (Pope 1955).