Scientific Name: Plestiodon laticeps
Size: 6.5-12.75 inches (13-18 cm) in length
Status: Candidate Species
Wooded habitat with plenty of dead laying trees, stumps and hollow logs
Adult males are grey to brown with a bright reddish-orange head during the mating season. The females and young are darker and have five yellowish to white stripes with the young having the characteristic blue tail. The belly is white or bluish gray The scales are smooth and have a polished, glossy look. 5 supralabials before the subocular scale.
- The dorsal background is black with five yellowish stripes that run down the back. These striped include a vertebral stripe, a pair of dorsal lateral stripes, and a pair of ventral lateral stripes.
- The vertebral strip bifurcates on the nuchal region of the head. The divided lines run along the medial boundary of the supraocular scales then converge at the tip of the snout and then extend to the approximate half of the tail.
- The dorsal lateral stripes extend from the anterior margin of the eyes along the body and to the proximate half of the tail.
- The ventral lateral stripes extend from the supralabials to the proximate half of the tail.
- The ventral is white or bluish grey.
- Older adult females keep their stripes, but the vertebral stripe may fade. The background color changes to brown, and the coloration between the dorsal lateral and ventral lateral stripes remains uniformly dark brown. The tail fades to a brown.
- Older males lose the longitudinal stripes and the dorsal color and tail become a uniform light brown to olive brown. The head becomes an orange-red coloration during mating season.
- Large-sized species.
- Postmental scale is divided.
- The scales are smooth and have a polished, glossy look.
- 5 supralabials before the subocular scale.
- In young adults the tail is colbalt blue.
May be Confused With:
- Coal Skink
- Five-lined Skink
- Hulse, C. and McCoy C. J. and Ellen Censky ,1998. Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. 259-262pp.
- Tom Diez
- Brandon Ruhe
Please contribute your observation of this and other herps to the Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey. Your help is needed.
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