Reptile Research


Glenn Shea is Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy in the Faculty of Veterinary Science. Whereas his teaching responsibilities are in the anatomy of domestic mammals and birds, his research interests have always diverged from this and are focussed on herpetology.
Glenn has been working on systematics and biology of the herpetofauna of Australia and the Pacific region since the late 1970s and as such, has a lot of experience in this area. His 1992 Ph.D. thesis is one example of this, where he investigated the systematics and reproduction of the bluetongue lizards of the genus Tiliqua.

Tiliqua occipitalis Tiliqua rugosa palarra

Photos courtesy of G. Shea, converted to digital by K. Ellis

Glenn is heavily involved in herpetology and research outside of the University too. He is an Honorary Research Associate of the Australian Museum, Sydney and of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu. He was involved in the development of the Action Plan for Australian Reptiles (Australian Nature Conservation Agency, 1993), and has been a consultant to Environment Australia. In the latter role he was involved in the development of survey protocols for endangered Australian reptile species, 2003; herpetological surveys for revision of Action Plans for two species of endangered lizard in the Norfolk Island group, 2005), Goro Nickel in New Caledonia (herpetological survey of the proposed Goro Nickel Mine, New Caledonia, 2003) and the Province Sud Government, New Caledonia (herpetological survey of several reserves in Province Sud, 2004).

Glenn is also the editor of the Australian herpetological journal Herpetofauna, and represents the Australian Herpetological Society on the Native Animal Keepers' Consultative Committee (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service) and private keepers of reptiles and mammals on the Non-Indigenous Animals Advisory Committee (NSW Agriculture).

Glenn is also the Faculty of Veterinary Science's Sub-dean for B.Sc.(Vet.), responsible for overseeing this one-year research degree offered by the Faculty.

Areas of Research

  • Systematics
  • Reproductive biology
  • Diet and distribution of the reptiles of Australia, New Guinea and the Pacific
Pvirens Chemi 1

Prasinohaema virens, a skink with green blood plasma, from Rossel Island, New Guinea. The green blood plasma gives all the tissues a green colour. The blue patch on the flanks is characteristic of males.
Supplied by G. Shea

Saignanus Mt Riu

A new species of skink from Sudest Island, New Guinea.
Photo supplied by G. Shea