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Old 06-16-2006, 09:20 AM   #1
Brian - LCRC
Mating and birth -Corucia / Behavior and Corucia


Here is some information that might be enlightening on this subject and help those working with Corucia.

Mating and Birth

Usually the male can be the initiator but females can also pursue a male until he complies. Males will initiate a courtship dance. It is a slow, jerky movement of
the head. The head is tilted to one side with a dance movement while tongue
flicking the ear opening of the female. The tail will sometimes twitch similar to
the territorial display a male will use but less so (Jones, 2000).
In one case at the SFCRC (Female= ID# SFCRC 2202, Male=ID #SFCRC 2102) a female Common Corucia was housed without a mate for several months. When a male was added, she instantly pursued him passionately after a couple of minutes he turned around and complied. The male bites the female at the nape of the neck and will wrap his hindquarters to align one of his hemipenes with the females cloaca, Mating duration can be many minutes to over an hour. At the SFCRC, with Corucia kept in outdoor conditions, mating often occured in early evening during peak crepuscular activity. A humidity spike or rainshower will enhance sexual prowess. At the SFCRC, mating was common after a humidity spike in late May. The Southern Florida Corucia Research Center produced over 20 successful births without a loss between 2001 to 2004.

Duration of gestation in Corucia avarages 7.5 months. At the SFCRC, January was common for birth to commense. Generally, a single fully formed youngster is produced, in rarer cases twins with one neonate being noticeably smaller than the other. Only one case of Triplets has ever been reported (Bert Wangerwerf-Agama International 2003). The youngster is a perfect miniature of the adult.

Corucia zebrata reproduces by Viviparous Matrotrophy (The young develops by virtue of a placenta norished directly by the mother) This near Eurtherian level of vivipary-giving birth by Preparitive Matrotrophy-i.e. prebirth nutrition by means of a mother generated placenta has been documented by Pough, Blackburn et al. Miscarrages occur where the female will pass an unrecognizable embryo (slug) or a nearly full term youngster. One may observe tan/yellow Quarter-sized spots in the bottom which are early term miscarrages. A Northern Solomon Corucia young was miscarried (Female= ID# LCRC/Cza/5) in 2004. The youngster appeared fully formed except for the tail which had a stumpy appearance ( see fiqure ). In two cases, newborn Corucia
possessed a bloated abdomen. The reason for this was never determined. In the first documented case, (LCRC/CZZ/45), the neonate died in her third week. Unfortunately,
a necropsy could not be arranged. A 2 mm umbilical cord attachment was witness on a newborn North Solomon Corucia. Newborn North Solomon Corucia are large. 172.9
grams vs. 83.99 grams for common Corucia on an average.

The young are always born at night and it has been noted that females are more prone to deliver during a rainshower or after soaking.

The youngster will eat the Placental sack after birth and then usually will live off of this for approximately 3 days before eating solid food. The Neonate may do this to gain beneficial hindgut microflora and protozoa. After the intake of solid foods, the neonate may be given small pieces of a Pothos leaf or baby food such as peas in addition to smaller portions of adult food. If held, the youngster will consume baby food from a spoon. The neonate will possess reminents of the placental sack which is silverish. This first 'shed' of plecental nature is usually completed in a couple of days. There is a small vertical slit in the belly which represents the area of attachment of the umbilical

cord to the mother. In the first hours, the newborn Corucia will remain relatively still. Once her/his strength increases in muscle control, the neonate will actively move
about and be able to climb with ease. Instinctively, although moving about, the baby will usually seek cover. The young Corucia will climb on top or underneath both parents or other Corucia Circulus members for security at times. Non-biological members of the Circulus will often guard the neonate and form a defensive parameter around a corner or hide area where the baby may reside. Some males have been noted as being more alert and being more apt to stay snuggling close to a neonate
than the biological female.

Corucia females have been observed to fast a couple of days before giving birth.

Females and males have been noted for guarding the birth site for days after a lost youngster has been removed. In one case, (Female=LCRC/Czz/1, Male=LCRC/Czz/2) the parents-particularly the female-guarded a site for over two weeks after a youngster was lost.

Corucia neonates under one year have weak bladders. When handled, they will invariably urinate and occasionally defecate on the holder. This is probably not the
reason, but a young Corucia seized by a predator might geta split-second chance of escape if the predator leases the grip long enough after being urinated on.

Many members of a circulus will often cluster around a hide containing a neonate
Corucia to guard the area. They will wrap their entire bodies over an entrance way.

Young Corucia very much like to hide in nooks and crannies. Beware of artifical stumps with narrow fissures. Babies (and adults) can (and have, unfortunately) get trapped and die within. The LCRC experienced an adult male common Corucia (LCRC/Czz/37) get trapped in a hollow plastic log and had to be carefully sawed out. There had been much pressure on the head. He recovered fortunately. Two twin Common Corucia were trapped in an artifical stump that had lower narrowing root branches. One twin (LCRC/Czz/48) was rescued and also had been under restrictive pressure. The other (LCRC/Czz/47) was found dead. One needs to check carefully when adding artifical decor and hides. Any in doubt should be used for external decorations only or used with larger lizards such as tegus, etc. But beware, do not use narrowing opening or chambers in a Corucia circulus - especially with young.

Nomenclature for Corucia fetuses and Neonates

Yolk mass- Miscarriage: no development beyond yolk stage

Slug- Miscarriage: cylindrical yolk mass with no appendages

club- Nearly full term fetus but possesses
undeveloped stubbed tail

Full term
miscarriage- Fully formed but non -viable neonate most often observed
with yolk mass still attached to abdominal area.

Singleton- Single full-term neonate, most common number
of births with corucia

Twin (Doublet)- Relatively rare but does occur

Triplets- Only one case known. Bert Langerwerf with
Agama International

Ferox Patrona Phase and Other behavior in the Corucia Circulus


The Scincidae species: Corucia zebrata possesses many complex emotional and social characteristics. The intricacy of the Circulus (B. Schnirel, 2003) will be examined as well as associated behavior towards outside Corucia zebrata entering the territory of an established Circulus. Observed hormonal changes and associated time frame of the female after pregnacy will de described.


Corucia zebrata-the Monkey Skink has been little researched in it's own ecosystem. Many aspects of this species remained unknown and undescribed. At the Southern Florida Corucia Research Center (SFCRC) much work was done with this species and many observations were taken. Further Circulus research was conducted at the Leeway Corucia Research Center (LCRC). Corucia zebrata of various ages and phenotypes were available for a cross the board prospective on behavior and relationships. Information such as this hopefully will lay the groundwork in time for onsite research on this species which is rapidly disappearing from it's native ecosystem due to extensive logging. If not, it will give a framework to better help understand and propagate Corucia zebrata living under human care.
Corucia zebrata is a Scincidae species that has invested a great deal of genetic investment in the Viviparous birth of normally a single neonate aftera 7.5 month gestation period. Consequently, the instinct to protect the young has evolved to be quite strong in this species and as a result, has created strong social bonds. These instincts and social bonds are the focus of this paper.


Corucia zebrata is a rarity in the reptile world in that parental care is given. In addition, this species possesses a strong Circulus (reptilian social order) matched perhaps only by the Gharial (Gavialis gangetius). The Corucia Circulus cocsists of a single adult male. An outside male wandering with a Circulus territory provokes an aggressive charge by the Circulus male. He will approach the intruder with a twitching of the prehensile tail similar to that of an angry cat. If the intruder withdraws, the defending male will give chase. If he catches him or if the intruder makes challenge, severe biting will occur often resulting in missing phalanges. A retreating male will commonly recieve bites in the hip region. Corucia zebrata has a moss-like pattern for daytime camoflage. They also possess a Corucation (hence,the Genus name). This play of colors would not attrach predators but may signal and repel rivals by the flash of light. This would be at it's zenith during low angle light coinciding with this species crepuscular nature. Since Corucia zebrata, being a member of the Scincidae, lacks femoral pores, the male through parallelism, secrets a waxy substance to mark the boundaries of his territory. This secretion has been noted in captivity. We at the LCRC have not documented this. The Circulus may consist of a single or multiple females. If more than one, they establish an alpha-beta structure with established sleeping positions with the Circulus territory. Parker(as told to him by natives) noted skinner individuals sleep lower in the hollows with more robust individuals sleeping on top. A male will defend a female vigorously even against non-Corucian intruders (S.L.Schnirel, 2004). In the mating season, the alpha female is selected first. Newly introduced females however can entice the male under the right circumstances. After the usually one large neonate is born, there is a noted parental instinct to protect the youngster. The female has the greater bond of the two. Indeed, for a several week period, the protective instinct develops into an extreme hormonal state- the Ferox Parona Phase (B.Schnirel, 2003). The female during this period, is extremely aggressive to any and all intruders within the Circulus territory. In addition, she may be less tolerant or even somewhat aggressive towards other members of the the Circulus as well (other females, older offspring-particularly adopted youngsters nearly maturity{after age 3}.) After the Ferox Patrona Phase, the female will return to her normal behavior and relationships to other members of her community. She still will be responsive and protective to her young but more at ease. The Ferox Patrona Phase may be beneficial as the neonate gets a little stronger and quicker but may secondarily serve to drive off maturing, older youngsters remaining in the Circulus and allow them to establish or join other territories. With the possible exception of the Ferox Patrona Phase, the instinct to protect young Corucia is so strong, that orphaned young are readily adopted into the Circulus. In one instance, several GFO's (Gravid female Obtained) Young were rescued by the Southern Florida Corucia Research Center from a California importer who was holding WC (wild caught) female Corucia to separate the young at birth for greater profit. The four young arrived stressed and agitated. After much deliberation, it was decided to place the four in an established Circulus enclosure (SFCRC C99-1). This Circulus consisted of one male (SFCRC 9901) and two females (SFCRC 9902, SFCRC 9903). SFCRC 9903 was the alpha female and was gravid at the time. The young were immediately accepted by all members which much tonque flickering.
Scent flickering is normal behavior in general Corucia greeting and acceptance. The four young immediately showed relief and exhibited calm behavior ever since. These four (SFCRC 2104, SFCRC 2105, SFCRC 2106, and SFCRC 2107) lived over two years in this Circulus. The alpha female, in the Ferox Patrona Phase, started to give chase to these adoptees as this ever enlargening Circulus was starting to get on her nerves. The four were placed in a large enclosure of their own at this point. Several times after this, GFO's were introduced with adoptive parents. With both CB (Captive bred) and GFO's, the young will snuggle under on on top of both the mother and father. Often they will also cuddle with beta females. In one case, a male (SFCRC 2002) was more protective and nurturing towards a single offspring than the female (SFCRC 2101) (B. Schnirel, 2003). Based on this and other behavioral observations, Corucia young should remain in the Circulus for at least 3 years prior to separation. To remove the young before hand invariably results in high stress and irratability in the young. In establishing a Circulus in captivity, it can be quite a challenge. Corucia zebrata can be very individualistic and picky when selecting companion Circulus members. Relationships can change as well over time (de Vosjoli, 1993). A case of 5 females with 2 males lived in complete harmony for approximately 6 months when all of a sudden hell broke loose between the two males. There was no mercy to be shown between the two and one male was quickly removed. Why the two males tolerated each other for so long was never explained (B. Schnirel,2004). Once a Circulus is established (With the exception of GFO's), it can be very difficult to add any new members.

Brian & Sherri
Old 06-16-2006, 08:43 PM   #2
Sherri, Thanks so much for all the info, I can't wait for the book! I guess I just have to sit back and wait 7 months!


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