Southeastern Five-lined Skink:
Natural Speedsters

By William T. Hathaway

Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Eumeces inexpectatus)

Many of the students in my biology class used to call these lizards “scorpions.” (Their pronunciation was more like “scorpeens.”) The Southeastern Five-line Skink is scientifically known as Eumeces inexpectatus. The glossy scales and bright blue tails of the juveniles seem to bring about a suspicious notion concerning these creatures that dash about from ground to trees and logs with the greatest speed. These skinks, like other lizards, can break off their tails when caught by the tail, allowing the lizard to escape its predator.

Five-lined Skinks are relatively common in the dry woodlands of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

These photos at right were snapped in 1974-1978. The image on the lower right contrasts the Eastern Fence Lizard.

(Also see these photographs in larger format.)

Critter in a Skitter

Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Eumeces inexpectatus)

Henry Mitchell, editor of this website, writes about his photo of the almost-mature five-lined skink at right: “The photo was taken when the fast-skittering skink paused for a fraction of second on our paint-spattered concrete step. I tried to shoot several more photos of the skink, but in every case the skink was gone from the camera's view by the time I pressed the shutter release button. He soon retreated into the foot of a wrought-iron railing.”

The photo was taken on July 30, 2007 at the end of Whittle Street in Chatham, Virginia.

(Also see this photograph in larger format.)