Common Five-lined Skink   

Plestiodon fasciatus
 

State Listing: Threatened

Commonly Confused Native Species:

 

  • Often Not Confused with other Species

IDENTIFICATION

 

Size:                  Connecticut’s only species of lizard measuring 5 to 8.5

                           inches in length.

 

Color:                Five-lined skinks get their name from the five

                           creamish-white longitudinal lines running down their

                           back. The background dorsal coloration is black to dark

                           brown.  Juveniles have blue tails that fade with age.

                           Females may retain the faded blue tail into adulthood,

                           while in adult males the blue fades to brown. During the

                           breeding season males lower jaw and head turns a

                           bright orange to red in color.              

 

Behavior:         When encountered, five-lined skinks are quick to flee and

                           seek refuge under rocks, vegetation or leaf-litter.  If

                           captured they are quick to bite and often autotomize their

                           tail (self amputation).  Autotomy is a behavior that acts as

                           a defense against predation; when the tail is grabbed it

                           is “dropped” and continues to wriggles around distracting

                           the predator from the skink, allowing it time to flee to

                           safety.  The lost tail will grow back overtime.         

 

Habitat:            In Connecticut the five-lined skink prefers open rocky

                          areas with steep cliffs and ledges.  These open rocky

                          areas, within forests, typically have an abundance of low

                          growing shrubs.  

    

 

Created and Maintained by Dennis P. Quinn

© 2020 Connecticut Herpetology

Five-lined Skink Adult Female