Victor Valley College Tropical Research Initiative
Herpetofauna of Timor-Leste
Phase VIII

Meleotegi River, Ermera District

Map of Eraulo, Sta Bakhita Mission and Meleotegi River
Mouse-over for Google satellite map and click for enlarged topographic map.


Walking down to the Meleotegi River Upstream on the Meleotegi River

The Meleotegi River is an excellent location for skinks. The Glossy night skinks (Eremiascincus spp.) are found in the rock-piles that line the banks, a slender yellow-bellied species and the large Timor glossy night skink (Eremiascincus timorensis). Four-fingered skinks (Carlia spp.) are also found on the rock-piles and in the vegetation along the riverbank but they are fast and hard to capture.

The students set to searching through the rock piles. Since these are river rocks collected for road and house building purposes with the locals it was important to build a second rock pile with the rocks from the first and not leave them scattered all around.


Franziska, Britta and Sven search a rock pile
for skinks

Claudia, Jay and Kevin do the same

Julia chasing skinks on the riverbank Claudia makes a new friend
Everyone pitches in then it is off to the coffee-forest upstream

The coffee-forest is home to Forest skinks (Sphenomorphus spp.) but they were even more difficult to catch on the steep slopes as Four-fingered skinks (Carlia spp.) on the riverbank.

The coffee-forest is on the right behind a screen of bamboo

The fallen tree makes for easier access to the coffee-forest on the slopes

Laca on a mission, blowpipe in hand


After three hours of herping on the Meleotegi we had captured specimens of at least four species of skinks, but no geckos, flying lizards, frogs or snakes.

Four-fingered skink
Carlia sp. male
Four-fingered skink
Carlia sp. female
Forest skink
Sphenomorphus sp.

Glossy night skink
Eremiascincus sp.
Timor glossy night skink
Eremiascincus timorensis


We then began the winding, bouncy drive back to Dili where Hinrich eagerly awaited news of our successes.