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Rori Paloski

Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)

Common Five-lined Skink photo.
Photo by Rori Paloski, WDNR
  • Family: Scincidae (Skinks)
  • Status: Common
  • Size: 5 to 8 in. with tail

range map

Species range

Skinks have very shiny, smooth scales. Young adult females and juveniles typically have black bodies with five yellow longitudinal stripes running along the back and sides, and bright blue tails. The central dorsal stripe runs onto the head where it Y's. As females age, their background color fades from black to brown, the stripes fade to tan, and their tails turn blue-gray. Adult males are a uniform tan or olive color with faint lateral stripes that fade with age. During breeding season, males' heads turn a reddish-orange color. Skinks live in oak and pine barrens and along the edges of dry hardwood forests or in grassy openings in these forests. They prefer damp microhabitats such as rotting logs and stumps where they find abundant food and also nest. Females brood their eggs until they hatch. Their diet consists of spiders, crickets, beetles, and snails.


Common Five-lined Skink  Photo

Female common five-lined skink guarding her eggs

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Common Five-lined Skink  Photo

Common five-lined skinks hatching

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Common Five-lined Skink  Photo

Juvenile five-lined skink

Photo © Heather Kaarakka.

Common Five-lined Skink  Photo

Male common five-lined skink during breeding season

Photo © Bridget Martell.

Common Five-lined Skink  Photo

Common five-lined skink

Photo by Rori Paloski, WDNR.

Last revised: Tuesday, December 22, 2020