LITTLE BROWN SKINK
Scincella lateralis (Say 1823)
skĭn-sĕl-lă — lă-tĕ-răl-ĭs


Conservation Status:

State: None

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

Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
An adult Little Brown Skink from Miami County, Kansas. Image © Eric Kessler.

Description:
This small, slender lizard has a long tail and short legs. The background color ranges from tan to a golden or coppery brown on the head, body, and tail. They have a darker stripe along each side of the body. The belly is uniform cream to yellow.
Adults normally 75-125 mm (3-5 inches) in TL; largest specimen from Kansas: female (KU 28795) from Miami County with SVL of 57 mm and TL of 145 mm (5¼ inches) collected by I. M. Claiborne on 30 April 1950; maximum length throughout range: 5¾ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
Known from wooded areas along the Kansas, Marais des Cygnes, lower Neosho, Verdigris, lower Arkansas, Medicine Lodge, and Salt Fork Arkansas river drainages.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 442
    Records 
  • 347
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 95
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (2); Anderson (9); Barber (11); Bourbon (24); Chautauqua (7); Cherokee (145); Clay (1); Comanche (15); Cowley (9); Crawford (15); Douglas (29); Elk (7); Franklin (33); Geary (3); Greenwood (12); Harper (1); Jefferson (8); Johnson (2); Kingman (1); Kiowa (5); Labette (13); Leavenworth (2); Linn (11); Miami (13); Montgomery (13); Neosho (6); Osage (2); Pottawatomie (6); Pratt (1); Riley (7); Shawnee (3); Sumner (1); Unknown (4); Wabaunsee (1); Wilson (8); Woodson (11); Wyandotte (1);

Natural History:
Most often heard as it scurries among leaf litter, well before it’s ever seen. They hang out on the forest floor and, unlike other Kansas skinks, seldom climb to search for their invertebrate food or escape predators. Instead, they use their small legs and long body to quickly ‘swim’ through leaf litter, thatch, and loose soil. They are harmless and attempts to catch them often leave the collector with a wiggling piece of tail in a handful of leaves.

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:
The first records for Kiowa County were obtained recently. And additional localities have been discovered in Comanche County. Both represent the western-most populations in Kansas.

Bibliography:
1882 Yarrow, Henry C. Check list of North American Reptilia and Batrachia with catalogue of specimens in U. S. National Museum. Bulletin of the United States National Museum (24):1-249
1911 Hurter, Julius. Herpetology of Missouri. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 20(5):59-274
1920 Taylor, Edward H. The Lizards of Kansas with Notes on Habits. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 117pp.
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
1933 Stejneger, Leonhard and Thomas Barbour. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp.
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. 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
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.
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1962 Stains, Howard J. and James Ozment A record of the brown skink (Scincella laterale) and Prairie Skink (Eumeces septentrionalis) from Barber County, Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 65(2):143
1965 Clarke, Robert F. Lizards in Kansas. Kansas School Naturalist 11(4):1-16
1965 Fitch, Henry S. and Harry W. Greene. Breeding cycle in the ground skink, Lygosoma laterale. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 15(11):565-575
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 Brooks, Garnett R. Scincella lateralis. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (169):1-4
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
1980 Glass, G. E., and N .A. Slade The effect of Sigmodon hispidus on spatial and temporal activity of Microtus ochrogaster: Evidence for competition Ecology 61():358-370
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.
1989 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1989. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (78):16-21
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Results of second Kansas herp count held during April-May 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):10-12
1990 Lardie, Richard L. Kansas threatened species and protection of the Gypsum Hills habitat. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (80):14-15
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-
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the KHS 1992 fall field trip. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (90):4
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 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):24-47
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. Results of the ninth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1997. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (108):12-17
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. Results of the tenth annual KHS herp counts for 1998, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):11-18
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 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 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 2000. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):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
2002 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 2001. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (1):10-11
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.
2003 Collins, Joseph T. Douglas County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):8
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
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Geographic distribution. Scincella lateralis. Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):13
2004 Volkmann, Al. Cowley County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):10
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.
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
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 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 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 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
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Spring Field Trip to Barber County Collinsorum 3(2-4):11
2015 Mike Houck. 2015 Fort Riley Herpetofaunal Count final report. Collinsorum 4(1):10-11
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. Results of the 2017 KHS Spring Field Trip to Elk County, Kansas. Collinsorum 6(2-3):6-8
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
Account Last Updated:
9/11/2018 10:59:39 AM