Sperm Plug Anyone?

One of my young Northern blue-tongues deposited an interesting gauzy material in its water bowl. When I first saw it I thought it might be a sperm plug. However, it doesn’t look like tubules of coagulated sperm, which are normally viscous and opaque.

 

blue-tongue skink sperm plug
Sperm Plug or Tissue Lining?

It looks more like a slough of the thin surface tissue lining the hemipenes. I was only able to find one similar photo on the web and people were commenting that it was a sperm plug, but seems to me a ghostly outline of the hemipenes themselves rather than an ejaculate.

Open to suggestions.

 

water bowl sperm plug
Water Bowl with Hemipenes Lining?

The sex of the skink is unknown. It was born in the summer of 2018 and is roughly 17-months old now. However, I purchased it from a collector in the Eastern U.S. who did not know the birth date. My estimate was roughly 3-months old when I purchased it, and it seemed rather undersized for its age.

Eyeing its current head and body development, my impression is that it looks slightly more male at this stage due to its long body and narrow abdomen. And somewhat longish head. This is a fairly subjective way of ascertaining sex, and prone to error.

 

Possible Young Male Northern blue-tongue skink
Young Male Northern?

Now I will assume male based on the unusual material in the water bowl, and we will see if ‘he’ indeed turns out to be a ‘he’. I named him Ataturk, with no disrespect meant to Turkish supporters of Mustafa Kemal. When I name a lizard after someone it’s meant as a compliment!

Whatever the sex, it’s not quite large enough to breed in 2020 so we will wait patiently until 2021.

 

Ataturk Tiliqua scincoides intermedia
Ataturk — Young Northern Blue-tongue Skink

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