Skinks are the largest and most diverse of the five families of lizards in Australia. The most recent review of the lizard fauna, for example, recognizes 193 species (54 percent of the total; Cogger 1975), but as a result of recent work by several collectors, we now know of at least 242 species. Furthermore, new species are being discovered at a faster rate than in any other family of Australian reptiles (pers. obs.).
Quite justifiably, Australian skinks are receiving considerable attention from researchers whose interests range from cytogenetics (e.g., King 1973 a and band Donnellan 1977) and ecology (e.g., Barwick 1965, Bustard 1970, Pengilley1972, Pianka 1969, Robertson 1976, Smyth 1968, Smyth and Smith 1968 and Spellerberg 1972 a-d) to systematics (e.g., the many papers of Storr cited at the end of this paper) and zoogeography (e.g., Horton 1972, Pianka 1972 and Rawlinson 1974a).
Given the numbers and diversity of Australian skinks and the interest in them, it may be useful to present a subdivision of this fauna that reflects major phylogenetic lineages. Hopefully, such a subdivision will provide a broad conceptual framework for synthesizing both old and new information about these animals.