Five-lined Skink


Scientific Name: Plestiodon fasciatus
Size: 5 – 8.5” (total length)
Status: Can be locally common in parts of Great Lakes range, but distribution is spotty in areas, especially in the north.

Five-lined Skink


Woodlands or partially wooded areas with sufficient cover and basking sites. More likely to be found in ecotone or transitional areas, for example clearings or woodland edges, or partially burned areas. Also sometimes found in large groups where driftwood has accumulated on beaches along the Great Lakes.

Adult Coloration:

Five yellowish or cream-colored stripes run from snout down back, sides, and tail, but may darken with age (especially in males). Black background color may also fade with age, with older adults turning brown, gray, or olive. Adult females retain the characteristic metallic blue tail seen in juveniles while males may have a gray tail.

Adult Characteristics:

Scales shiny and small. Males have a widened head and develop reddish coloration on snout and jaws with age. These features are more conspicuous during the spring breeding season.

Juvenile Characteristics:

Conspicuous metallic blue tail and white or yellow stripes on black background.


  • Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by Jim Harding
  • Harding, J.H. and J.A. Holman. 1990. Michigan Turtles and Lizards. MSU Cooperative Extension Service and MSU Museum. 96 pp.
  • Ruthven, A. G., H. B. T. Gaige, et al. 1912. The herpetology of Michigan, by Alexander B. Ruthven. Crystal Thompson and Helen Thompson; Memoranda towards a bibliography of the archaeology of Michigan, by Harlan I. Smith; prepared under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. Lansing, Mich., Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford, State Printers.
  • Holman, J. A. 2012. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: A Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure. Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University Press.
  • Conant, R., and Collins, J. T. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern, Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press.