Southeastern Five-lined Skink

Plestiodon inexpectatus


Southeastern Five-lined Skinks can be found throughout much of Mississippi, outside of the Mississippi River drainage in the northwest. This skink is unique from other similar-looking species by having uniformly sized scales on the underneath of the tail. Adults and juveniles usually have thinner light lines than Common Five-lined skinks as well. Juvenile tails are darker and more purplish. These counts and traits may vary in the field 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. 

Individual still retaining blue on the tail, Jackson Co. (MS)

Identifying Traits

  • Five thinner light lines on back
  • Uniform size of scales on underside of tail


Wooded areas and swamps, may be found in urban areas


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


Small invertebrates

Subadult seen under a pine log, Harrison Co. (MS)