Greaves et al (2007) produced a molecular phylogeny for the O. chloronoton—O. lineoocellatum species complex and identified the following groups: Clade 1 = O. lineoocellatum: Nelson, Marlborough Sounds, North Island; Clade 2a = O. sp. ‘South Marlborough’; Clade2b = O. sp. ‘Central Canterbury’), and Clade 2c O. sp. 'Mackenzie Basin' . Jewell (2008) lists two taxa affiliated to O. lineoocellatum, as distinct species: the Lakes skink Oligosoma sp. 3 (= ? O. chloronoton ‘West Otago’), and the Mackenzie skink Oligosoma sp. 4 (= Clade 2c O. sp. ‘Mackenzie Basin’ (Chapple & Hitchmough 2009).
Various populations have been split off or synonymized again to the species-complex (McCann 1955, Hardy 1977, Greaves et al 2007). McCann 1955 proposed a North and South division in the species, by naming O. lineoocellatum 'form parvicephallum', and also Takapourewa populations as L. festivum. Hardy 1977 synonymized all populations, but recognised O. chloronoton. Greaves et al 2007 later rejected the proposed Cook Strait theory of McCann 1955, but instead revealed two deeply divergent clades within the species subdivided across the Southern Alps. The specific name refers to the eye-like spots (ocelli) on the dorsal surface.
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A large skink (80-90 mm SVL, up to 111 mm, total length up to 192 mm; Hardy 1977, Robb 1980, Jewell 2008). Dorsal surface light to dark brown, olive-green or deep green, often with an iridescent sheen. White or green ocelli-like spots edged with black scattered along back. A yellow or golden dorso-lateral stripe may be present. Lateral surfaces with upper black or brown band with paler flecks or spots, sometimes edged with thin, pale notched or broken stripe. Lower lateral surface pale grey, or grey-brown with some specking. Limbs brown with white spots. Ventral surfaces uniform, usually grey, bright pink or red, with tinge often extending to latero-ventral sides. Throat loght grey with chin flecked or streaked in black (Hardy 1977, Jewell 2008)
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