Northern Coal Skink
Scientific Name: Plestiodon anthracinus
Size: 5-7 inches (13-18 cm) in length
Status: Species of special concern
Open habitat with rock or log cover, highway right-of-ways, Powerline clear-cuts.
Gray to brown with four light tan to olive brown stripes on the body that extend down the tail. The sides of the males head will turn reddish during the mating season. The young have a blue tail. The underside from the chin to the tip of the tail is blueish grey to grey. The limbs are similar in color to the dorsal stripe. Melanistic individuals have been recorded.
- Coloration can vary with sex and age.
- The dorsal has a broad light tan to olive brown stripe that extends from the top of the head to the dorsal surface of the tail.
- The dorsal stripe is bordered on both sides by a white to yellow line that extends from the posterior margin of the eye to the anterior region of the tail. A series of black dots may occur along the medial sides of these lines.
- A second pair of lines runs along the ventral lateral margins of the body that extend from the posterior margins of the ear to the anterior portion of the tail.
- A broad bark brown to black stripe occupied the space between the dorsal and ventral lateral lines. These stripes extend from the head and onto the tail.
- The ventral color from the chin to the tip of the tail is blueish grey to grey.
- The limbs are similar in color to the dorsal stripe.
- Neonates have a more intense color with black limbs and a cobalt blue tail. The blue is lost once they mature.
- Males will have a orange-red color on the sides of the head during mating season.
- Melanistic individuals have been recorded.
- Medium-sized species.
- Postmental scale is undivided.
- The scales are smooth and have a polished, glossy look.
- 6-7 supralabials.
May be Confused With:
- Five-lined Skink
- Broadhead Skink
- Hulse, C. and McCoy C. J. and Ellen Censky ,1998. Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. 248-251pp.
- Tom Diez
- Billy Brown
- Nicholas Sly
Please contribute your observation of this and other herps to the Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey. Your help is needed.
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