Common Five-lined Skink
Scientific Name: Plestiodon fasciatus
Size: 5 - 7 inches (13 - 18 cm)
Open habitat with rock or log cover, highway right-of-ways, Power line clear-cuts.
Adult Five-lined skinks are gray to brown with five yellow to white stripes, two on the sides and one down the back. The young are darker colored, almost black, with their stripes being much more prominent. The young also have a blue tail. The chin and throat are beige and the rest of the belly is bluish grey. The scales are smooth and have a polished, glossy look. 4 supralabials before the subocular scale.
- The dorsal background is black with five longitudinal stripes.
- The vertebral strip is yellow or white and extends the length of the body and halfway down the tail. At the posterior margin of the head the vertebral stripe divides in two, and run along the top of the head and then connects again at the snout.
- The dorsal lateral strips are yellowish white and start at the supracilliary scales just above the eyes and extends to the middle of the tail
- The ventral lateral stripes are white and extend from the anterior supralabials to the middle of the tail.
- The distal half of the tail is brown.
- The ventral surface of the chin and throat are beige and the rest of the ventral is bluish grey.
- Older females become brown in color and the longitudinal stripes become less distinct.
- Older males become brownish tan in color and the longituninal stripes disappear.
- During breeding season the head of the male becomes bright orange-red.
- Medium-sized species.
- Postmental scale is divided.
- The scales are smooth and have a polished, glossy look.
- 4 supralabials before the subocular scale.
- Neonates and juveniles are an intense black with a bright cobalt blue tail. The body color fades and the blue is lost once they mature.
May be Confused With:
- Coal Skink
- Broadhead Skink
- Hulse, C. and McCoy C. J. and Ellen Censky ,1998. Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. 256-259pp.
- Tom Diez
- Bob Hamilton
- Brandon Curtis
- Bob Ferguson
Please contribute your observation of this and other herps to the Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey. Your help is needed.
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