The Broad-Headed Skink, Indiana"s bigger skink, is less often seen than its near relative: the Five-Lined Skink, as it spends much of that time greater up in trees. Favor its nearby relative, youth Broad-Headed Skinks are black through bright white-yellow stripes and also a blue tail and also adults are brown through faded stripes and no blue coloration. This varieties gets its name from the enlarged, swollen red heads that males in reproduction condition develop. Broad-Headed Skinks deserve to be quite huge with adults reaching lengths of around a foot (30 cm) in length.

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Juvenile from Brown County


Though over there is a comparable skink in Indiana that is virtually the same in part life stages, it is first worth pointing out that many human being confuse skinks with salamanders as result of their similar type and shiny appearance. Though the visibility of scales, claws, and eyelids is a quick way to separate these reptiles indigenous salamanders (which are amphibians), the differences in behavior and activity pattern are additionally quite stark. Most civilization encounter skinks climbing on structures or skittering throughout the forest floor, in broad daylight during the warmer months. Skinks, like many other reptiles, room sun-loving creatures that prosper in warm and dry conditions and also are inactive in cool and cloudy weather. Salamanders, ~ above the other hand, are predominantly energetic in spring, fall, and also even winter when conditions are cool and wet. Salamanders are frequently energetic on cool, rainy nights throughout the spring but otherwise seek cover under rocks, logs, or underground. Lizards and also salamanders room so various that it would not it is in hyperbole to say that the conditions in i m sorry one thrives, can be fatal come the other.

Five-Lined Skinks flourish to just about fifty percent the size of this varieties making it reasonably simple come identify huge adult Broad-Headed Skinks. However, any individuals under eight inch (20 cm) long should be more carefully examined. Five-lined skinks have four scales, ~ above the upper lip, between the eye and the nose while broad-headed skinks have five.

Ecology and also Conservation

The Broad-Headed Skink is an inhabitant of backwoods environs. This solitary types is great climber and also as together it leads a semi-arboreal lifestyle living in holes or crevices that trees. Your diet is comprised of mainly insects, however they have likewise been recognized to eat other reptiles. The Broad-Headed Skink prefers drier areas, and has been documented to live top top the ground, under rocks, or in buildings. They seek out clear openings, yet will frequently move into the canopy to uncover gaps. They are additionally frequently encountered on stand dead trees (snags) and also on clear rock outcrops.

Ridgetop follow in Brown County



The natural variety for this types is from too much southeastern Pennsylvania southern to central Florida, west through east Kansas and northwestern Illinois, and also south with east main Texas. In the Midwest, the Broad-Headed Skink is uncovered in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

Broad-Headed Skinks space a types of mature deciduous forests and are many abundant in the unglaciated hills the south-central Indiana and also in the forested ravines that west-central Indiana.


The share taxonomy the skinks is muddled and contentious. For numerous years, these skinks were well-known in the genus Eumeces. Schmitz et al. (2002) confirmed that this genus was paraphyletic, and Smith (2005) said using the available name Plestiodon for most North American species. No subspecies that the Broad-Headed Skink are right now recognized. These lizards belong come the family Scincidae, i beg your pardon is stood for in Indiana through a full of 3 species.

Literature Cited

Conant, R. And J. T. Collins. 1998. A field Guide to the Reptiles and also Amphibians: eastern and central North America. House Mifflin Company, brand-new York, NY.

Minton, S. A. 2001. Amphibians and also Reptiles that Indiana. Indiana Academy that Science.

Schmitz, A., P. Mausfeld, and D. Embert. 2004. Molecular researches on the genus Eumeces Wiegmann, 1834: phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic implications. HAMADRYAD-MADRAS 28:73-89.

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