Common Five-lined Skink

Plestiodon fasciatus


Common Five-lined Skinks can be found throughout Mississippi and in a wide range of the eastern US. Usual identifying characters include five wide light lines on back, and generally have four labial scales and two large postlabial scales (Powell et al., 2016). Both Common Five-lined and Broad-headed Skinks have a wide central row of scales on the tail. However, these counts and traits may vary and should be noted when attempting identification. Juveniles are brightly patterned, with bold, contrasting lines and bright blue tails. Lines on adults fade with age. They may be encountered in forests, swamps, and urban parks and landscaping. 

Male skink, eastern Missouri, © Peter Paplanus

Identifying Traits

  • Five wide light lines on back
  • Blue tail in juveniles, gray in adults
  • 4 labial scales with two postlabial scales
  • Wide central row of scales on the underside of tail


Wooded areas and swamps, may be found in urban areas


Diurnally active, quick to drop tail if pinned by a predator


Small invertebrates

Female P. fasciatus, Issaquena Co. (MS)
Male P. fasciatus, Issaquena Co. (MS)
Closeup of a male, eastern Missouri, © Peter Paplanus
Small individual found under a rock, Le Flore Co. (OK)
Gravid female found under a rock, Lafayette Par. (LA)