Check out our last survey

Lumbo survey

Lumbo is the name of the town where we started our project. We chose Lumbo because it is one of the two places where the species Proscelotes aenea and Scolecoseps boulengeri were last seen. In Lumbo they were recorded in 1918 while in Pemba, (200 km northwards) they were recorded in 1948. Since we are based in Pemba, we have over two decades of herpetological records from the town, and those two species were never recorded from there (see paper here).

With the help of an incredible team of students, we did an unprecedented sampling of amphibians and reptiles in the country. Our team was in the field for a whole year, sampling every day in five sites and using various methods.

Besides the finding of Proscelotes aenea, for the first time in decades, we also documented the presence of 58 species! Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the Scolecoseps boulengeri. We believe that local communities mistake this species, due to their lack of limbs, with snakes – causing them to kill them. We organized a survey to check this out, results soon!

The Species

The skinks Scolecoseps boulengeri and Proscelotes aenea are two of the most mysterious skinks in East Africa. They were both collected in two cities of Mozambique (Pemba and Lumbo) in the early 20th century in high numbers with very low sampling effort.

Where We Were



  1. Phrynomantis bifasciatus, 2. Hemisus marmoratus, 3. Afrixalus delicatus, 4. Hyperolius pusillus, 5. Phylctimantis maculatus, 6. Ptychadena mossambica

7. Afrixalus brachycnemis, 8. Breviceps mossambicus, 9. Arthrolepis stenodactylus, 10. Xenopus muelleri, 11. Ptychadena anchietae

12. Phrynobatrachus acridoides, 13. Hyperolius tuberilinguis, 14. Kassina senegalensis, 15. Afrixalus fornasini, 16. Mertensophryne lindneri, 17. Pixycephalus edulis


  1. Panaspis whalbergii, 2. Pelusius sinuatus, 3. Phelsuma dubia, 4. Lygodactylus grotei, 5. Trachylepis striata, 6. Chamaeleo dilepis, 7. Trachylepis margaritifera, 8. Sepsina tetradactyla, 9. Tracylepis megalura, 10. Gerrhosaurus intermedius, 11. Gerrhosaurus intermedius, 12. Cryptoblepharus africanus

13. Trachylepis varia, 14. Sepsina tetradactyla, 15. Varanus niloticus, 16. Kinyxis zombensis, 17. Trachylepis boulengeri, 18. Hemidacylus mabouia, 19. Agama mossambica, 20. Proscelotes aenea

  1. Psammophis angolensis, 2. Gracililima nyassae, 3. Atractaspis bibroni, 4. Bitis arientans, 5. Xenocalamus sp, 6. Lycophidion nanum, 7. Thelotornis mossambicanus, 8. Psammophis mossambicus

9. Naja mossambica, 10. Philothamnus semivariegatus, 11. Psammophis orientalis, 12. Ramphiophis rostratus, 13. Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia

14. Aparallactus capensis, 15. Myriopholis longicauda, 16. Amblyodipsas polylepis, 17. Prosymna sthulmani, 18. Philothamnus hoplogaster, 19. Dispholidus typus, 20. Afrotyphlops mucroso, 21. Lycophidion capensis

Amphibians (17 species)

Arthrolepis stenodactylus
Afrixalus brachycnemis
Afrixalus fornasini
Afrixalus delicatus
Breviceps mossambicus
Hemisus marmoratus
Hyperolius pusillus
Kassina senegalensis
Mertensophryne lindneri
Phylctimantis maculatus
Phrynobatrachus acridoides
Pixycephalus edulis
Ptychadena anchietae
Ptychadena mossambica
Phrynomantis bifasciatus
Hyperolius tuberilinguis
Xenopus muelleri

Reptiles (41 species)

Amblyodipsas polylepis
Afrotyphlops mucroso
Agama mossambica
Aparallactus capensis
Atractaspis bibroni
Bitis arietans
Brodleysaurus major
Chamaeleo dilepis
Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia
Cryptoblepharus africanus
Dispholidus typus
Gerrhosaurus intermedius
Gracililima nyassae
Hemidactylus mabouia
Lycophidion capensis
Lycophidion nanum
Lygodactylus grotei
Mochlus sundevalli
Myriopholis longicauda
Naja mossambica
Panaspis whalbergii
Pelusius sinuatus
Phelsuma dubia
Philothamnus hoplogaster
Philothamnus semivariegatus
Proscelotes aenea
Prosymna sthulmani
Psammophis angolensis
Psammophis mossambicus
Psammophis orientalis
Pyton nataliensis
Sepsina tetradactyla
Ramphiophis rostratus
Thelotornis mossambicanus
Trachylepis boulengeri
Trachylepis margaritifera
Trachylepis striata
Trachylepis varia
Tracylepis megalura
Varanus niloticus
Xenocalamus sp

What We Did


We had a permanent trapping system in 5 sites spread-out in Lumbo to cover as much habit as possible.


While our traps are catching frogs, lizards and snakes, we actively search for species by lifting rocks or digging.


Not much is known in terms of biodiversity in Northern Mozambique, so we built a reference collection of the species we encountered.

What now?

Now we got more funding! Thanks to the British Ecological Society and the Ruffords Foundation we are undertaking an even larger sampling campaign! We are going to sample in the less urbanized territory in-between Lumbo and Pemba and search again for the Proscelotes aenea and Scolecoceps boulengeri. We need to map Proscelotes aenea and continue our search of Scolecoceps boulengeri. More about our project here

Our galleries