Recognized Subspecies in VA: None
Size: 4.5 - 6 inches
Status: Least Concern
The Common Five-lined Skink (CFLS) is probably the most abundant lizard in Virginia. This species loves open basking areas in areas with several hiding places and trees nearby. This means the best places to find these are often houses and park buildings. That said, CFLS can readily be found in open forestland and fields. This species can be found by basking basking sites (such as rocks, concrete, and decks), as well as flipped under logs, tin, and boards.
Adult males go through a breeding and non breeding state. During breeding, their lines fade and their head swells and reddings to a pumpkin-orange. Their bodies bronze up really well, and all of these make sexing breeding individuals quite easy. Females usually have dark bodies with five golden lines from their head down to their tail. Tails are usually silver, but sometimes blue. Juveniles are black, with five bright lines and bright blue tails. This species has very smooth scales.
Similar Species: All three variations are similar to the stages of the Southeastern Five-lined Skink. Southeastern Five-lined Skinks have narrower lines, 4-5 scale rows between the mid dorsal and lateral lines, and males’ heads do not swell up nearly as much. CFLS also have a wide row of scales under their tail that runs from their vent towards the tip. This species is often confused for the Broadhead Skink as well, which is much larger as adults, juveniles may have 7 lines, and lack or have a single, small postlabial scale.
Maps and External Sources
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