Plestiodon fasciatus - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Five-lined Skink
Other English Common Names: Common Five-lined Skink, Northern Five-lined Skink, five-lined skink
Synonym(s): Eumeces fasciatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Eumeces fasciatus (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 173959)
French Common Names: scinque pentaligne
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104988
Element Code: ARACH01050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Lizards
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae Plestiodon
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Eumeces fasciatus
Taxonomic Comments: See Murphy et al. (1983) for information on the relationship of E. fasciatus to E. inexpectatus and E. laticeps. In a phylogenetic analysis of Eumeces based on morphology, Griffith et al. (2000) proposed splitting Eumeces into multiple genera, based on the apparent paraphyly of Eumeces. Smith (2005) and Brandley et al. (2005) formally proposed that all North American species (north of Mexico) be placed in the genus Plestiodon. This was accepted by Crother (2008) and Collins and Taggart (2009).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Feb2016
Global Status Last Changed: 28Oct1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N3 (02Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S5), Connecticut (S2S3), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S4), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S4), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (SX), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (S3), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S5), Nebraska (S1), New Jersey (SU), New York (S3), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S5), Pennsylvania (S4), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (SU), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Vermont (S1), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S3S4)
Canada Ontario (S3)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):E,SC
Comments on COSEWIC: The species was considered a single unit and designated Special Concern in April 1998. Split into two populations in April 2007, the Carolinian population (pop. 1, Endangered) and the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence population (pop. 2, Special Concern). The designation for the species was de-activated in April 2007.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The geographic range extends from western New England and southern Ontario to Minnesota, and south through eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and northern peninsular Florida (Conant and Collins 1991).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by very many occurrences or subpopulations. For example, Trauth et al. (2004) mapped hundreds of collection sites in Arkansas alone.

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but undoubtedly exceeds 100,000. The species tends to be common in most of the large range.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats have been identified.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size are large and probably relatively stable or slowly declining.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)) The geographic range extends from western New England and southern Ontario to Minnesota, and south through eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and northern peninsular Florida (Conant and Collins 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MAextirpated, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada ON

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Fairfield (09001), Hartford (09003), Litchfield (09005), New Haven (09009)
IA Clinton (19045)*, Delaware (19055)*, Dubuque (19061), Jackson (19097), Jones (19105)*
MN Brown (27015)*, Chippewa (27023), Chisago (27025), Cottonwood (27033)*, Fillmore (27045), Houston (27055), Lyon (27083)*, Murray (27101)*, Redwood (27127), Renville (27129), Yellow Medicine (27173)
NE Richardson (31147)
NJ Bergen (34003), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Morris (34027), Ocean (34029), Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
OK Atoka (40005), Cherokee (40021), Cleveland (40027), Latimer (40077), Le Flore (40079), Muskogee (40101)
SD Clay (46027)
VT Rutland (50021)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Farmington (01080207)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+, Housatonic (01100005)+
02 Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+
04 Mettawee River (04150401)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
07 Hawk-Yellow Medicine (07020004)+, Redwood (07020006)+*, Middle Minnesota (07020007)+*, Cottonwood (07020008)+*, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+, Root (07040008)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Maquoketa (07060006)+
10 Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, Big Nemaha (10240008)+
11 Lower Canadian-Walnut (11090202)+, Dirty-Greenleaf (11110102)+, Illinois (11110103)+, Poteau (11110105)+, Muddy Boggy (11140103)+, Kiamichi (11140105)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: The scales on the back are smooth and shiny. The middle of the underside of the tail has a row of enlarged scales. Coloration varies with age. Adult males are almost uniformly brown or olive and may have "faded" light stripes; the tail is gray and the jaws are orange-red during the breeding season. Adult females have a gray tail, and the back has five white or yellowish stripes on a dark background. Hatchlings are black with five white or yellowish stripes on the back and sides; the tail is bright blue. Maximum snout-vent length is about 3.4 inches (8.6 cm).
Reproduction Comments: Courtship and mating occur in spring. Clutches of 4-14 eggs are laid mostly in May-June. The female attends the eggs during incubation. Eggs hatch in 4-7 weeks (mid-July to mid-August in South Carolina). Individuals become sexually mature in their second year (Vitt and Cooper 1986, Fitch 1954). Multiple and communal nests are common in some areas (Hecnar 1994).
Ecology Comments: In Kansas, home range diameter approximately 27 m in males, 9 m in females; may shift home range after hibernation (Fitch 1954). Aggregations may occur during the breeding season.

As is true of other skinks, the tail of this species is readily detached if the skink is attacked. A detached tail initially wiggles vigorously and may attact the attention of a would-be predator as the lizard escapes. Later, if the tail was not eaten by the predator, the skink may return to the site, find its detached tail using chemical cues, and eat it.

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Woodland - Hardwood
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris, Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Habitats include wooded areas of many kinds, especially those that are humid, well-drained, supply abundant cover (rocks, logs, stumps, leaf litter), and have a patchy canopy; also seasonally flooded lowlands in some areas (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Most activity occurs on the ground, but these lizards also climb trees and are distinctly arboreal in Texas. Generally secretive, five-lined skinks spend much time under cover

Eggs are laid in or under rotting logs, stumps, or humus, or under rocks (Fitch 1954, Vogt 1981). In Ontario, preferred nest sites were large, moderately decayed logs with high substrate moisture (Hecnar 1994). Oviposition sites may be outside the non-nesting home range (Seburn 1993).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats insects, spiders, snails, and occasionally small lizards (Fitch 1954).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Activity occurs from April to October in the north and over a longer period in the south. Adult males may reduce activity after breeding (Seburn 1993).
Length: 21 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Skinks

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway or highway with obstructions such that lizards rarely if ever cross successfully; major river, lake, pond, or deep marsh; densely urbanized area dominated by buildings and pavement (but note that suburban areas are suitable habitat for some skinks).
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Individual skinks generaly have small home ranges. In Kansas, home range diameter of Eumeces fasciatus was approximately 27 m in males, 9 m in females; individuals sometimes shifted home range after hibernation (Fitch 1954).

Fitch (1955) found that Eumeces obsoletus generally is rather sedentary in the short term; most live in home ranges not more than 30 m in diameter. Adult males are more mobile than females and juveniles. Sometimes individuals make longer movements of 100 m or more. Home range location is rather fluid. Individuals often live in one area for awhile, then shift to another area. Hall (1971) reported a maximum home range size of about 800 sq m.

According to Ashton and Ashton (1991), home range size of Scincella lateralis may be less than 20 sq m.

The separation distance for unsuitable habitat reflects the nominal minimum value of 1 km. The separation distance for suitable habitat attempts to reflect the limited home ranges of these lizards, their secretive habits and consequent apparent absence in areas where they do in fact occur, their tendency to occur throughout patches of suitable habitat, and the likely low probability that two locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent truly independent populations.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .2 km
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Aug2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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