Broad-Headed Skink

Broad-Headed Skink

Broadhead skink

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Plestiodon laticeps
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
4-8 yrs
LENGTH
15-33 cm

The Broad-headed skink is a nonvenomous species of lizard, native to the United States. It gets its name from the wide jaws, giving the head a triangular appearance. Adult males are brown or olive-brown in color and have bright orange heads during the mating season in spring. Females have five light stripes running down the back and the tail. Juveniles are dark brown or black and also striped and have blue tails.

Di

Diurnal

Ca

Carnivore

In

Insectivores

Ar

Arboreal

Te

Terrestrial

Pr

Predator

Pr

Precocial

Te

Territorial

Ov

Oviparous

Po

Polygyny

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

Hi

Hibernating

B

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Countries
Biogeographical realms

Broad-headed skins are found in the southeastern United States from the East Coast to Kansas and eastern Texas and from Ohio to the Gulf Coast. They prefer humid forest areas with abundant leaf litter, especially oak forests, and can also be found in urban areas.

Broad-Headed Skink habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Broad-headed skinks are solitary animals that only come together to mate. They are active during the day from April through November. Although they forage on the ground, Broad-headed skins are mainly arboreal and easily and often climb trees for shelter, to sleep, or to search for food. They find their food visually and by smell through tongue-flicking. When threatened, Broad-headed skinks will flee to the nearest tree or log; they may also detach their tails to distract potential predators and use the moment to escape.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Broad-headed skinks are carnivores (insectivores). They eat mainly insects and spiders, but will also feed on mollusks, rodents, and small reptiles.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
late spring
PREGNANCY DURATION
3 to 8 weeks
BABY CARRYING
8 to 13
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
8-22 eggs

Broad-headed skinks are polygynous which means that one male mates with more than one female. Males typically are larger than females. The larger the female, the more eggs she will lay. Males thus often try to mate with the largest female they can find, and they sometimes engage in severe fights with other males over access to a female. Breeding usually occurs in late spring. The female lays between 8 and 22 eggs, which she guards and protects until they hatch in June or July. The hatchlings have a total length of 6 to 8 centimeters (2.4-3.1 in) and leave the nest a few days later.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats to Broad-headed skins at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Broad-headed skink total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

Broad-headed skinks feed on many insects and control their populations. They are also a food source for local predators such as birds, larger reptiles, and domesticated cats.

References

1. Broad-Headed Skink on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plestiodon_laticeps
2. Broad-Headed Skink on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/64231/12756745

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About