five-lined skink

(Plestiodon fasciatus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

 

No Image Available

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S3 - Vulnerable

Minnesota

Special Concern

Occurrence

Scattered populations in only seven or eight Minnesota counties

Habitat

Moist but not wet wooded areas with rock outcrops, including bluffs, forest edges, and savannas.

Lifespan

5 to 7 years

 
Size

5 to 8½

 

Identification

The upper (dorsal) surface has 5 distinct yellow stripes running from the head to the tip of the tail. The central stripe splits in two forming a "Y" on the top of the head.

Juveniles have a bright blue tail. Adult females have a bluish-gray tail. Adult males have a gray tail.

 
Similar
Species

Prairie skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis) lacks the "Y" shaped mark on the top of the head. The tail is never blue.


Food

Crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and other insects; spiders; and snails.

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

When attacked by a predator, the skink will detach its tail. The tail will continue to wiggle and distract the predator while the skink seeks cover. The tail will regrow but will not be as long or as colorful as the original.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 6, 11, 14, 29, 72, 74.


Comments

Taxonomy
This species was formerly classified as Eumeces fasciatus. Recently, two separate studies, Smith (2005) and Brandley et al. (2005), proposed separating all species in North America north of Mexico into the genus Plestiodon. This was accepted by Crother (2008) and by Collins and Taggart (2009). Most online and recent print sources use this new classification. ITIS37 still classifies North American skinks in the genus Eumeces.


Taxonomy

Order:

Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards, and snakes)

 

Suborder:

Lacertilia (lizards)

 

Infraorder:

Scincomorpha (skinks, wall lizards, and relatives)

 

Family:

Scincidae (skinks)

 

Subfamily:

Scincinae

 
Synonyms

Eumeces fasciatus

Lacerta fasciata

 
Common
Names

American five-lined skink

blue-tailed skink

common five-lined skink

five-lined skink


 

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Slideshows

   
  Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
Bill Keim
 
  Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)  

 

slideshow

     

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Other Videos

 
  Blue-tailed Plestiodon fasciatus
Creepy, Funny, and Crazy Videos
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 29, 2015

Blue-tailed Plestiodon fasciatus

Filmed: July 4, 2009

 
     
  American five-lined skink
piranhacam72
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 23, 2014

Plestiodon fasciatus (American five-lined skink) pays us a visit.

 
     
  The Five-lined Skink - Russell Cave National Monument
NPS Inventory and Monitoring
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 20, 2012

Video describing the biology and natural history of the five-lined skink, a common reptile at Russell Cave National Monument.

 
     
  The Five-Lined Skink
globalzoo
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jan 21, 2010

This is a video of the five-lined skink from the BBC's Life in Cold Blood documentary series.

 
     
  American five-lined skink, Juvenille
southcoastms
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 26, 2013

Plestiodon fasciatus

July 25, 2013, Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Juvenilles have the bright blue tail. Adults swap the blue tail for red coloring on the head.

This one was sweeping his tail back and forth until I grabbed the video camera, when he froze in place for a several minutes and finally did one tail sweep. I can't imagine why they do that. It seems like that brightly colored moving tail would be a "come eat me" signal to every coon, snake, and bird nearby.

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

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GLJ
7/28/2016

Location: The Preserve Golf Course at Grand View Lodge, Pequot Lakes, MN

We saw a juvinile with a bright blue tail at The Preserve just south of Pequot Lakes on Thursday July 28. Four of us saw it. We got a very close/good view of it.


     
     
 

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