Plestiodon laticeps - (Schneider, 1801)
Broad-headed Skink
Other English Common Names: Broadhead Skink, broad-headed skink
Synonym(s): Eumeces laticeps (Schneider, 1801)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Eumeces laticeps (Schneider, 1801) (TSN 173961)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100658
Element Code: ARACH01080
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 laticeps
Taxonomic Comments: See Murphy et al. (1983) for information on the relationships among E. inexpectatus, E. fasciatus, 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: 26Aug2005
Global Status Last Changed: 28Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S5), Delaware (SH), District of Columbia (S1), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Kansas (S2), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S5), Maryland (S4), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S5), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S3), Pennsylvania (S1), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range extends from southeastern Pennsylvania, central Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and eastern Kanas south to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and central Florida. An isolated population may occur in northeastern Indiana (record could represent an atypical E. fasciatus juvenile; Minton 2001 ). Isolated questionable records exist west of established range in western Oklahoma and central Texas, and to the south in southern Florida (Cooper 1988).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a very large number of occurrences or subpopulations. Cooper (1988) mapped hundred of collections sites rangewide, and Palmer and Braswell (1995) mapped well over 100 sites in North Carolina alone.

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000.

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

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats have been identified. The species is tolerant of moderate habitat alteration (e.g., logging, partial clearing, nonintensive rural residential development).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Trends are not well documented, but extent of occurrence, area of occupnacy, number of subpopulations, and populations size likely are 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: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) The range extends from southeastern Pennsylvania, central Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and eastern Kanas south to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and central Florida. An isolated population may occur in northeastern Indiana (record could represent an atypical E. fasciatus juvenile; Minton 2001 ). Isolated questionable records exist west of established range in western Oklahoma and central Texas, and to the south in southern Florida (Cooper 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

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)
KS Bourbon (20011), Cherokee (20021), Crawford (20037), Linn (20107), Miami (20121), Neosho (20133)
PA Chester (42029)*, Lancaster (42071)
WV Cabell (54011)*, Calhoun (54013)*, Fayette (54019), Jefferson (54037), Kanawha (54039)*, Logan (54045)*, Tucker (54093)*, Wayne (54099)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+*, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+*, Shenandoah (02070007)+, Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008)+*
05 Cheat (05020004)+*, Little Kanawha (05030203)+*, Lower New (05050004)+, Upper Kanawha (05050006)+*, Upper Guyandotte (05070101)+*, Lower Guyandotte (05070102)+*, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+*, Twelvepole (05090102)+*
10 Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+, Marmaton (10290104)+
11 Middle Neosho (11070205)+, Spring (11070207)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Eggs are laid during May-July (June in South Carolina). Clutch size is 6-18 (average about 14). Female attends eggs until hatching, about 48 days in South Carolina; hatching occurs from late July to mid-August in South Carolina. Sexually mature in 21 months. Females breed annually (Vitt and Cooper 1985). Large males guard adult females (exclude smaller males) during the breeding season (Cooper 1993).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Hardwood
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris, Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Rangewide, the species occupies wooded areas and woodland edges having diverse soil types and moisture conditions; hammocks and cypress heads in Florida; also swamps, vacant debris-strewn lots, and barrier islands. These lizards are semiarboreal and often sun themselves on snags or stumps; they take refuge in rotting stumps and standing dead trees, occupying old woodpecker holes and other hollows. On coastal islands in South Carolina, they prefer large live oaks having holes and a fringe of dense cover (bushes) (Cooper 1993); adults occur most often in oaks or on the ground, juveniles occur most often on walls, palmettos, or on the ground; they may actively avoid pines (Cooper and Vitt 1994). Eggs are laid in a nest in a rotting stump or dead tree or under rocks or other cover.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet includes insects and their larvae, snails, isopods, spiders, and lizards (e.g., ANOLIS, juvenile EUMECES). Forages among leaf litter and from tree trunks and large limbs (Vitt and Cooper 1986).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Active April to September in north (Minton 1972), about the same in Florida (Fitch 1970).
Length: 32 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: 26Aug2005
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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  • Ashton, R. E., Jr., and P. S. Ashton. 1991. Handbook of reptiles and amphibians of Florida. Part two. Lizards, turtles & crocodilians. Revised second edition. Windward Pub., Inc., Miami. 191 pp.

  • Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999a. A field guide to Texas reptiles & amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. xviii + 331 pp.

  • Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999b. A field guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. xvi + 278 pp.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Brandley, M. C., A. Schmitz, and T. W. Reeder. 2005. Partitioned Bayesian analyses, partition choice, and the phylogenetic relationships of scincid lizards. Systematic Biology 54:373-390.

  • 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.

  • Collins, J. T., and T. W. Taggart. 2009. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians, turtles, reptiles, and crocodilians. Sixth edition. The Center for North American Herpetology, Lawrance, Kansas. iv + 44 pp.

  • Conant, R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. xvii + 429 pp.

  • Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 616 pp.

  • Cooper, W. E. 1993. Tree selection by the broad-headed skink, EUMECES LATICEPS: size, holes, cover. Amphibia-Reptilia 14:285-294.

  • Cooper, W. E., Jr. 1988. Eumeces laticeps. Cat. Am. Amph.Rep. 445:1-3.

  • Cooper, W. E., Jr., and L. J. Vitt. 1994. Tree and substrate selection in the semi-arboreal scincid lizard Eumeces laticeps. Herpetological Journal 4:20-23.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84. Online with updates at: http://www.ssarherps.org/pages/comm_names/Index.php

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2012. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. 7th edition. SSAR Herpetological Circular 39:1-92.

  • Fitch, H. S. 1970. Reproductive cycles of lizards and snakes. Univ. Kansas Museum Natural History Miscellaneous Publication 52:1-247.

  • Green, N. B., and T. K. Pauley. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles in West Virginia. University of Pittsburg Press, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. xi + 241 pp.

  • Griffith, H., A. Ngo, and R. W. Murphy. 2000. A cladistic evaluation of the cosmopolitan genus Eumeces Wiegmann (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae). Russian Journal of Herpetology 7(1):1-16.

  • Minton, S. A., Jr. 1972. Amphibians and reptiles of Indiana. Indiana Academy Science Monographs 3. v + 346 pp.

  • Minton, S. A., Jr. 2001. Amphibians & reptiles of Indiana. Revised second edition. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. xiv + 404 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pp.

  • Murphy, R. W., W. E. Cooper, Jr., and W. S. Richardson. 1983. Phylogenetic relationships of the North American five-lined skinks, genus Eumeces (Sauria: Scincidae). Herpetologica 39:200-211.

  • Palmer, W. M., and A. L. Braswell. 1995. Reptiles of North Carolina. North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

  • Smith, H. M. 2005. Plestiodon: a replacement name for most members of the genus Eumeces in North America. Journal of Kansas Herpetology 14:15-16.

  • Trauth, S. E., H. W. Robison, and M. V. Plummer. 2004. The amphibians and reptiles of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press.

  • Vitt, L. J., and W. E. Cooper, Jr. 1985. The relationship between reproduction and lipid cycling in the skink Eumeces laticeps with comments on brooding ecology. Herpetologica 41:419-432.

  • Vitt, L. J., and W. E. Cooper, Jr. 1986. Foraging and dietof a diurnal predator (Eumeces laticeps) feeding on hidden prey. J. Herpetol. 20:408-415.

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