Five-lined Skink
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Five-lined Skink

Online Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut

Five-lined Skink Plestiodon fasciatus

Description

A small lizard with a body length of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm; see Klemens 1993). The overall appearance is shiny and the lizard often looks wet. Males are generally brown or greenish brown with a reddish head, while females are grayish with faint stripes running the length of the back.

 

Reproduction

Clutches of 4 to 16 eggs are laid under rotting logs and other debris, usually in middle to late summer. The mother may guard the eggs for several days after laying them. Eggs hatch after 2 to 3 months of incubation in the wild.

 

Juveniles

Juveniles (bottom) are more brightly colored than adults. Both sexes have a background color of black with distinct yellow or yellowish white lines running the length of the back. The tail is bright blue.

 

Habitat

Generally found on rock piles or logs in exposed areas near woodlands. It often occurs in dry, warm areas that are near moist microclimates.

 

Food

Feeds primarily on insects and other invertebrates. Skinks themselves are eaten by a variety of snakes, small mammals (including skunks) and birds.

 

Range

Occurs throughout the eastern United States, from as far north as southern New England to northern Florida in the south, and Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in the west (see Conant and Collins 1991). In Connecticut it is found sporadically along the Housatonic River in Litchfield and New Haven counties, and in southwestern Hartford County (see Klemens 1993).

 

Status

Not federally protected. It is recognized by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection as a threatened species.

 

Comment

No other species of lizard is native to Connecticut.

 

References

Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 450 pp.

Klemens, M.W. 1993. Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut and Adjacent Regions. Hartford, CT: State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut Bulletin 112. 318 pp.

 

Credits

Text by Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell.
Photographs © Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Animals featured in photographs on this page are from Kentucky.