COMMON FIVE-LINED SKINK
Plestiodon fasciatus (Linnaeus 1758)
plĕs-tē-ō-dŏn — făs-sē-ā-tŭs


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S5 - Secure
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

A juvenile Common Five-lined Skink from Johnson County. Image © Joni Johnson-Godsy.
An adult male Common Five-lined Skink from Jefferson County. Image © by Jacob Basler.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Description:
Length in Kansas up to 7 inches. The background color is gray, brown, or black with five cream-colored stripes running from the head to the tip of the tail. Adult males often lose the stripes, take on a light brown background and, in the spring, develop an orange coloration on the head. The juveniles are always striped and have a bright blue tail. This species closely resembles the Broad-headed Skink and can usually only be differentiated by examination of the head scales and comparing size.
Adults normally 125-178 mm (5-7 inches) in TL; the largest specimen from Kansas: male (KU 288632) from Wyandotte County with unknown SVL and TL of 222 mm (8½ inches) collected by Daniel G. Murrow, James Markley, and Matt Singer on 30 April 1998; exceeds maximum length throughout range, as reported in Conant and Collins (1998).

Distribution:
Well documented from the forested eastern third of Kansas. Records from Ness (KU 18417-8) and Ellis (MHP 5624) counties are either introductions or misidentified specimens. The record for Sedgwick County is in need of corroboration.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 1,336
    Records 
  • 1,254
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 82
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (30); Anderson (63); Atchison (6); Bourbon (53); Brown (1); Butler (1); Chautauqua (7); Cherokee (342); Coffey (2); Cowley (1); Crawford (18); Doniphan (15); Douglas (331); Elk (9); Ellis (1); Franklin (95); Greenwood (5); Jackson (3); Jefferson (49); Johnson (34); Labette (9); Leavenworth (21); Linn (25); Lyon (2); Miami (81); Montgomery (26); Neosho (15); Ness (2); Osage (21); Pottawatomie (1); Riley (8); Sedgwick (2); Shawnee (7); Sumner (2); Unknown (3); Wabaunsee (2); Wilson (14); Woodson (11); Wyandotte (17);

Natural History:
They may be discovered out in the open while searching for small invertebrates to eat, but are most commonly encountered under rocks, logs, or trash. Like all other Kansas skinks (and several other lizards), their tails break off when restrained and then start twitching, which can distract a predator and allow the skink to get away.

Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Observation Type: (of recorded types)
Remarks:
Cragin (1885) reports on a considerable number of specimens from Neosho Falls, presented by Col. N. S. Goss to Washburn College and the Kansas Academy of Science.

Bibliography:
1758 Linné, Carl von (=Linneaus). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis 10th Edition, Volume 1, L. Salvius, Stockholm. iv + 826pp.
1885 Cragin, Francis W. Recent additions to the list of Kansas reptiles and batrachians, with further notes on species previously reported. Bulletin of the Washburn College Laboratory of Natural History 1(3):100-103
1885 Cragin, Francis W. Second contribution to the herpetology of Kansas, with observations on the Kansas fauna. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 9():136-140
1920 Taylor, Edward H. The Lizards of Kansas with Notes on Habits. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 117pp.
1925 Linsdale, Jean M. Land Vertebrates of a Limited Area in Eastern Kansas. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 312pp.
1927 Grant, Chapman. The Bluetail Skink of Kansas. Copeia 164():67-69
1927 Linsdale, Jean M. Amphibians and reptiles of Doniphan County, Kansas. Copeia 1927(164):75-81
1928 Burt, Charles E. Insect food of Kansas lizards with notes on feeding habits. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 1(3):50-68
1928 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
1932 Taylor, Edward H. Eumeces laticeps: A neglected species of skink. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 20(14):263-271
1933 Noble, G. Kingsley and E. R. Mason. Experiments on the brooding habits of the lizards Eumeces and Ophisaurus. American Museum Novitates (619):1-29
1934 Burt, Charles E. and W. L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1935 Burt, Charles E. Further records of the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the middle west. American Midland Naturalist 16(3):311-366
1935 Burt, Charles E. and William L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1935 Taylor, Edward H. A taxonomic study of the cosmopolitan scincoid lizards of the genus Eumeces, with an account of the distribution and relationships of its species. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 23(1):1-643
1942 Hudson, G. E. The amphibians and reptiles of Nebraska. Nebraska Conservation Bulletin 24():1-146
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1954 Fitch, Henry S. Life history and ecology of the five-lined skink, Eumeces fasciatus. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 8(1):1-156
1956 Fitch, Henry S. A ten year old skink? Herpetologica 12(4):328
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1964 Fitch, Alice V. Temerature tolerances of embryonic Eumeces. Herpetologica 20(3):184-187
1965 Clarke, Robert F. Lizards in Kansas. Kansas School Naturalist 11(4):1-16
1970 Fitch, Henry S. Reproductive cycles in lizards and snakes. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication (52):1-247
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1974 Karns, Daryl, Ray E. Ashton, Jr., and Thomas Swearingen. Illustrated Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: An Identification Manual. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History Public Education Series(2):viii + 18
1974 Pisani, George R. Herpetology in the KU Division of Biological Sciences. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (4):3-4
1975 Perry, Janice. A trip to southeastern Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (7):4
1976 Caldwell, Janalee P. and Gregory. Glass. Vertebrates of the Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Pages 62-76 in Preliminary inventory of the biota of Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Report No. 5. State Biological Survey of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Fitch, Henry S. and Pennie L. Von Achen. Spatial relationships and seasonality in the skinks Eumeces fasciatus and Scincella laterale in northeastern Kansas. Herpetologica 33(3):303-313
1977 Perry, Janice. KHS members achieve goal: Get Cottonmouth. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (21):3-4
1978 Perry, Janice. KHS successful at Miami County State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (27):5
1979 Gray, Peter. Low attendance slows KHS. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (32):1
1979 Guarisco, Hank. Preliminary laboratory observatoins of predation by native Texas Garter Snakes upon hatchling Five-lined Skinks. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (32):7-8
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of three amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 57pp.
1982 Fitch, Henry S. Resources of a snake community in prairie-woodland habitat of northeastern Kansas. Pages 83-97 in Herpetological communities: A symposium of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles and the Herpetologists League, August 1977.  Wildlife Research Reports 12. 239 pp. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D. C. pp.
1983 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in Kansas for 1982 . Technical Publication of the State Biological Survey of Kansas 13():9-21
1983 Miller, Larry L. Bourbon County field trip well attended and successful. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (54):6-7
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1985. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (63):4
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1986. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (66):9-16
1987 Coleman, Keith. Annual KHS Field Trip held at Atchison State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (68):5-6
1987 Olson, R. Earl, Bertram Marx, and Robert Rome. Descriptive dentition morphology of lizards of middle and north America II: Iguanidae Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society 23(1):12-34
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1991 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (83):7-13
1991 Collins, Joseph T. Results of third Kansas herp count held during April-May 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (85):9-13
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1991 Fitch, Henry S. Reptiles and amphibians of the Kansas ecological reserves. Pages 71-74 in Multidisciplinary Guidebook 4. Kansas Academy of Science, Lawrence. pp.
1992 Collins, Joseph T. Results of the fourth Kansas herp count held during April-May 1992. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (89):10-
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the fifth Kansas herp count held during April-June 1993 . Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (94):7-11
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1994 Fitzgerald, Eve and Charles Nilon Classification of habitats for endangered and threatened species in Wyandotte County, Kansas Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 98pp.
1994 Riedle, J. Daren. A survey of reptiles and amphibians at Montgomery County State Fishing Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (98):11-13
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
1995 Anderson, Lewis, Mark Shaw, Jeff Blodig, and Tom Walker. Report to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks: Herps encountered during REmap project, summer 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (99):10-17
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Additional KHS herp counts for 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (102):11-
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the seventh annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (101):11-17
1996 Miller, Larry L. Third graders conduct amphibian and reptile field study. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (106):15
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1996 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eighth annual KHS herp counts Held 1 April-31 May 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (104):6-17
1997 Collins, Joseph T. A report on the KHS fall field trip to the Marais des Cygnes wildlife refuges. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (110):2-3
1997 Rundquist, Eric M. Addendum to 1997 KHS herp counts. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (109):14-15
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1998 Rundquist, Eric M. KDWP herp sting so far nets nine on Kansas and Federal charges. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):5-6
1998 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the tenth annual KHS herp counts for 1998, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):11-18
1999 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1998. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (116):14-15
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
2000 Griffith, Hugh, Andre Ngo and Robert W. Murphy A cladistic evaluation of the cosmopolitan genus Eumeces Weigmann (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae) Russian Journal of Herpetology 7(1):1-16
2000 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eleventh and twelfth annual KHS herpetofaunal counts for 1999-2000, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):11-16
2000 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2000 fall field trip. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):6-8
2001 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the thirteenth annual KHS herp counts for 2001, held 1 April-30 June. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):13-16
2001 Taggart, Travis W. The KHS 2001 spring field trip: A rainy rendezvous. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):12-14
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2002 Miller, Larry L. Osage County herp count II. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2003 Collins, Joseph T. Douglas County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):8
2003 Freeman, Craig C. A natural areas inventory of the Ft. Leavenworth Military Reservation, Leavenworth County, Kansas. II. Open-file Report No. 117. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence, Kansas. 199pp.
2003 Suleiman, G. Fort Riley herpetofaunal count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (5):11-12
2003 Suleiman, Gibran. Fort Riley herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):9
2003 Taggart, Travis W. KHS conducts first systematic road survey. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):11-12
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2003 KHS spring field trip to Wilson County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):2-5
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2003 fall field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (8):14-15
2004 Collins, Joseph T. Marais des Cygnes herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):11
2004 Daniel, James K. Cherokee County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):10
2004 Schmitz, Andreas, Patrick Mausfeld, and Dirk Embert Molecular studies on the genus Eumeces Weigmann, 1834: Phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic implications Hamadryad 28(1-2):73-89
2005 Smith, Hobart M. Plestiodon: A replacement name for most members of the genus Eumeces in North America Journal of Kansas Herpetology (14):15-16
2005 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2005 fall field trip [to Crawford County]. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (16):19-21
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2010 Murrow, Daniel G. Kansas Herpetological Society spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (33):2-3
2011 McMartin, D. Chris. Herp Count: Fort Leavenworth Herpetofaunal Survey for 2011. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (39):8-9
2011 McMartin, David C. U. S. Army 2011 Fort Leavenworth Herpetofaunal Survey: 23 April - 09 May 2011. Privately printed, Leavenworth, Kansas. 33pp.
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 spring field trip to beheld in Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (37):5-7
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS Spring Field Trip to Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (38):2-4
2012 Hamilton, Bryan Tyler, Rachel Hart , and Jack W. Sites Jr. Feeding Ecology of the Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum, Colubridae) in the Western United States. Journal of Herpetology 46(4):515-522
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2012 Spring Field Trip to Bourbon County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):3
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
2014 McMartin, D. Chris. Fort Leavenworth Heretofaunal Survey for 2013. Collinsorum 3(1):10
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Fall Field Trip to Woodson County. Collinsorum 3(2-4):12
2016 Pittman, Galen L., Henry S. Fitch, and W. Dean Kettle Vertebrate animals on the Fitch Natural History Reservation (1948-2002) Kansas Biological Survey Report Number 188, Lawrence. 48pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2016 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS Summer field trip to Caney River, Chautauqua County, Kansas. Collinsorum 5(2-3):4-5
2017 Mardis, Dexter R. Results from three Herpetofaunal tallies at Wichita State University’s Youngmeyer Ranch in Northwestern Elk County. Collinsorum 6(1):8-10
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2018 Houck, Mike. Herp Count: Fort Riley Military Installation Collinsorum 7(1):17
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
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4/23/2020 3:10:27 PM