The three-lined skink is a strongly striped, egg-laying lizard most commonly found amongst coastal heaths and in warm, sunny areas.
A long-bodied skink with fairly short limbs. This species normally has a clearly defined pattern of stripes running lengthways down the body, including a black, sharply-defined stripe along the upper sides. The back may be various shades of brown or grey, usually with a black stripe down the spine. Three-lined skinks often (but not always) have a pinkish-orange flush on the throat. The head and body length is between 22-80 mm in length. Females grow slightly longer than males. This species is superficially similar to the tussock skinks in the genus Pseudemoia, but can be distinguished from these because the three-lined skink has a fused frontoparietal shield and its body is longer relative to its limbs. This species is also recorded in the literature as Bassiana duperreyi.
Three-lined skinks are a common species in coastal heaths and dry woodlands, where they shelter amongst grass tussocks, in leaf litter and in dense ground cover. This species feeds on insects and other small invertebrates.
Three-lined skinks are one of the few egg-laying (oviparous) lizards occuring in Tasmania. Mating occurs from November to December, and 2-10 eggs are laid in late December. This species is a communal egg layer, and as many as 64 eggs have been recorded from a communal site. Three-lined skinks lay their eggs in loose soil beneath rocks and logs. Upon hatching, juveniles have a head and body length of 22-33 mm.
Being an egg-laying species this lizard is generally found in warmer environments in the north and east of Tasmania. Three lined skinks have been recorded from the following Tasmanian islands: Babel Island, Big Dog Island, Flinders Island, Little Dog Island and Maria Island. The species is also found in South-east South Australia, Victoria and the highlands of southern NSW.
This species is subject to predation by cats and the introduced laughing kookaburra. The healthlands where three-lined skinks occur are sensitive to changes in fire frequency.