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The Southeastern five lined skink (Eumeces inexpectatus) is a species of lizard found in the southeastern United States. It is widely distributed and occupies a variety of habitats from coastal plains to mountains, as well as disturbed urban areas. This species has several unique characteristics that make it an interesting subject for herpetological study.

The most prominent feature of this species is the presence of five longitudinal light stripes on its back and tail, which give rise to its common name. Additionally, the coloration of males changes seasonally with bright blue heads during breeding season. They are relatively small lizards, reaching only 4-5 inches long when fully grown. Reproduction occurs via egg laying up to four times per year with clutches containing 2-8 eggs each.

Southeastern five lined skinks have been studied extensively since their description in 1895 by Cope due to their wide distribution and adaptability within different environments. As such, they serve as important model organisms for studies regarding predator avoidance behavior, population dynamics, and lifecycle plasticity among other topics. In this article we will discuss these aspects in greater detail along with potential conservation implications for this species moving forward.

Five lined skink


The southeastern five lined skink, or Plestiodon laticeps, is a species of the genus Plestiodon that inhabits eastern and central regions of the United States. It is among one of the most frequently encountered lizards in its range due to its habitat preferences for open woodlands, lawns, fields, gardens and rock outcrops. The species is often referred to as simply the “five-lined skink” or “southeastern skink”.

The southeastern five lined skink is characterized by having long tails with four non-blue stripes on their back, along with a bright blue tail stripe which fades away during adulthood. Males have extremely large heads compared to females, while both sexes are typically greyish brown in coloration and reach lengths up to 8 inches (20 cm).

Skinks belonging to Plestiodon are considered one of North America’s most diverse groups of lizards. P. laticeps occupies an area common with several other closely related species such as Eumeces inexpectatus (broadhead skink) and Scincella lateralis (ground skink). Despite this shared space within overlapping ranges, each species can be distinguished from another based upon specific morphological traits.

Habitat And Range

The southeastern five-lined skink (Eumeces inexpectatus) is a species of lizard native to the east coast of the United States. It has an extensive range, extending from extreme southern New Jersey and Delaware southward to northern Florida and westward into Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma. Its habitat preference varies seasonally; during spring and summer months it can be found in grassy fields as well as wooded areas near water sources such as ponds or streams. In autumn and winter months its habitat shifts towards logs and stumps where they seek shelter from cold temperatures.

The preferred habitats for this species are moist forest floors with plenty of leaf litter cover that provide refuge against predators. The vegetation associated with these habitats also provides essential nutrients through insects which comprise their primary diet. This species may be observed basking on rocks or tree trunks at times, but will retreat quickly if disturbed.

Though the exact distribution of this species is not fully known due to incomplete survey data, research indicates that it is common across much of its southeastern range throughout both deciduous forests and pine regions. Populations appear stable despite some localized threats such as urbanization and agricultural development in certain parts of their range. With continued monitoring efforts more information about the population dynamics of this unique reptile should become available over time.

Diet And Predators

The southeastern five lined skink is known to have an insect-based diet. Skinks are primarily carnivorous, and feed on a variety of invertebrates such as crickets, grasshoppers, larvae, spiders and other insects. Studies show that the southeastern five lined skink also consumes some plant material, including fruits and berries in small amounts. This behavior may be due to its need for additional nutrients or moisture during dry seasons.

Insects form the bulk of their diet with rodents making up a smaller portion. Rodents usually comprise less than 5% of total prey consumed by these skinks but they do consume mice when available. Observations suggest that they actively hunt around logs and rocks where their prey might hide and ambush them from cover before swallowing them whole. They will also scavenge dead animals if found nearby.

Predators of the southeastern five lined skink include birds of prey, snakes and larger lizards which can overpower them easily due to their size advantage; hence these creatures tend to remain well camouflaged within leaf litter or among vegetation during daylight hours in order to avoid detection by predators. In conclusion, this species has adapted both dietary habits as well as camouflage techniques to survive in their environments while avoiding predation as much as possible.

Behavior And Mating Habits

The southeastern five lined skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus) is an interesting species of lizard. An interesting statistic to note about this particular species is that they are capable of reproducing within two years after their birth, which is much earlier than other lizards in the genus Plestiodon. The behavior and mating habits of the southeastern five lined skink have been studied by herpetologists for many years, allowing us to gain a better understanding of how these creatures reproduce.

Female southeastern five lined skinks reach sexual maturity at around 18 months old and males typically do so between 24-36 months. Mating season usually occurs during late spring or early summer, when temperatures begin to rise slightly above 23 degrees Celsius. During this time, male southeaster five lined skinks will try to mate with multiple females in order to increase their chances of passing on their genes. To make themselves more attractive to potential mates, males tend to display colorful flecks on the sides of their bodies and become increasingly active as the temperature rises.

Females may lay up to three clutches each year; laying anywhere from one egg per clutch up to eight eggs per clutch depending on environmental conditions and food availability. After being laid, it takes approximately 60 days before hatching commences in late July/early August when there are warmer temperatures and higher levels of humidity. It is important for hatchlings not be exposed too dry conditions else they risk dehydration leading to death. As such, female southeastern five line skinks must find suitable habitats for their young ones where there is plenty of moisture available throughout the day until they mature enough fend for themselves independently.

Southeastern five line skinks have evolved remarkable adaptations over centuries due to selective pressures imposed by nature enabling them survive long periods without water or sustenance while still managing produce offspring successfully every year despite harsh environment conditions present in certain regions.

Reproduction And Lifespan

The southeastern five lined skink is a species of reptile that reproduces during the spring and summer months. Breeding usually begins in April or May, with mating peaking from late April to mid-May. During this time, males will display aggressive behavior towards other males as they compete for mates. Females will lay up to four clutches of eggs throughout the season; these are typically laid under logs or rocks and incubated by the sun’s heat for six weeks before hatching.

Reproduction in skinks involves internal fertilization, with females producing between 3-8 offspring per clutch depending on their size and age. The lifespan of a southeastern five-lined skink is around 8 years when living in captivity, but may be shorter in wild populations due to predation and environmental factors such as extreme temperatures.

When breeding, it is important to consider both physical and behavioral traits of individuals when selecting mate pairs. Physical health should be monitored carefully to ensure that any potential illnesses do not spread through the population. Additionally, strong social bonds should be formed between the pairings since male aggression can occur if there is an imbalance between them. This type of bonding allows for successful reproduction and higher survivability rates among offspring:

• Offspring have a greater chance of survival when parents form strong social bonds
• Proper nutrition practices must be observed to ensure healthy development
• Environmental conditions must match those found in nature so that proper growth can take place

By understanding the reproductive needs of southeastern five-lined skinks, professionals within herpetology can help maintain stable populations while also increasing overall knowledge about this species’ biology and ecology.

Conservation Status

The southeastern five lined skink is a species found in the southeast of North America. However, due to its habitat being threatened by human developments and changing climates, this species has become endangered. As an example of how much their populations have decreased, it used to be common for people living in urban areas around Atlanta to find these lizards throughout their yards and gardens, but now they are rarely seen.

Given that habitats are becoming increasingly compromised all over the world, conservation efforts need to be taken into consideration in order to protect the remaining population of Eumeces inexpectatus. Such efforts include creating reserves where the animals can live without any danger from humans or other predators, as well as replanting certain plants and trees which would provide food sources and shelter for them. Furthermore, research should also be done on how climate change affects the species so that we can better understand what steps need to be taken in order for us to not only save existing populations but create new ones too.

By taking such measures we can ensure that future generations will still get to see these beautiful reptiles thriving in their natural environment rather than disappearing altogether due to our lack of care towards them. It is up to us now whether we choose to do something about this before it’s too late or simply let another species go extinct because of our negligence.

Five lined skink

Interesting Facts

The Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus) is a lizard-like reptile, with bright coloring and five stripes running along its body. It exhibits characteristics of other skinks, such as tail autotomy, which allows it to escape predators by dropping its tail. The northern range of the species extends from South Carolina up through New York state. An interesting fact about this species is their climbing ability. They are known for being able to scale vertical surfaces like tree trunks and rock walls. Their sharp claws make them adept climbers in search of food or shelter. In addition, they often seek out areas near water sources such as lakes and streams in order to keep cool during warmer months. This behavior makes them more tolerant of changes in temperature than many other reptiles living in similar climates. The population numbers of the southeastern five-lined skink may vary due to predation from larger animals and habitat loss caused by human development projects within their range. Conservation efforts must be taken into consideration when studying the potential extinction risks associated with this species’ future survival.


The southeastern five lined skink is a species of lizard that has received much attention due to its fascinating behavior and appearance. It is an important part of the southeastern United States’ ecosystem, as it helps keep insect populations in check and provides food for various predators. Despite its small size, this species plays a vital role in maintaining a balanced environment. Unfortunately, their population numbers are declining due to destruction of habitat and overcollection. To help ensure the future survival of these lizards, conservation efforts must be undertaken to protect them from further harm and preserve suitable habitats.

It is ironic that such an unassuming creature could have so much importance in the natural world. The southeastern five lined skink may seem insignificant at first glance but they actually play a crucial role in the surrounding ecosystems and should not be underestimated or overlooked. With proper protection and management, these lizards will continue to thrive and maintain their presence in our forests for years to come.

In conclusion, the southeastern five lined skink is an essential component of many regional environments throughout the Southeast U.S., yet ironically receives little recognition for its contributions to biodiversity within this region. If appropriate protective measures are taken soon enough, there is hope that this species can continue providing ecological services while also allowing us humans to observe their unique behaviors firsthand – something we should strive towards preserving before it’s too late.