Western skink

Western skink

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Western skink

The western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus) is a species of small, smooth-scaled lizard with relatively small limbs. It measures about 100 to 210 mm (about 4 to 8.25 inches) in total length (body + tail). It is one of five species of lizards in Canada. They spend much of their day basking in the sun. Their diet ranges widely, including spiders and beetles. Western skinks will bite if grasped and will flee if they feel threatened.

It is a common but secretive species whose range extends throughout Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming and into western Montana and northern Arizona.They can also live in some areas of Texas It is widespread in northern California but primarily restricted to the coast in central and southern California.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Genus: Plestiodon
  • Species: P. skiltonianus
  • Binomial name: Plestiodon skiltonianus

Descriptions

Western skink, the most striking feature would be its bright blue tail although it is not as prominent as in every skink. The story can be doubled up to its own body length. This tail usually fades when adolescence is brighter, because the lizard is old.

A brilliant blue story is believed to attract the hunter to the hunter. Once the hunter pulls a brighter tail, there will be a better chance of getting away with the only loss of his tail in Skiak. Western scank scales are small and easy, giving it a very shiny look.

Physical size can range from 3 inches to 8 inches. Her body shape is very long and thin for its entire length. On the top side, it seems that the brown colored back runs on the back and is usually brown in color. On each side, there are strips of the same length below and there is also white cream or tan for golden. This lizard has been registered to stay for nine years.

Habitat

The types of terrain that it lives in range from deserts and canyons to open forested areas. They tend to find elevated land favoring hillsides with plenty ground debris for cover but can survive in a variety of low to high elevations. These lizards find homes in and under rocks also creating burrows for nests.

Diet

A skink’s diet consists of mosly small insects such as beetles and grasshoppers. They are active predators and use quick movements and speed to catch their prey.

Life History

This skink is diurnal during the period of warm-season activity. During summer most activity is concentrated in the morning and late afternoon. Where summer temperatures are not extreme, activity extends throughout the day. Adult skinks usually become inactive by early fall but juveniles extend their period of activity several weeks.

The reproductive season for this species varies geographically and from year to year depending on local conditions. Mating probably occurs in the spring soon after emergence. Males turn orange on the underside when they are breeding. Females lay 2–6 eggs during June and July.

Western skink females construct nest chambers that are several centimeters deep in loose moist soil. Typically these chambers are located under surface objects, especially flat stones, logs, and sometimes in or near rock outcrops.

Diagnostic Characteristics

The Western Skink is the only lizard in Montana that appears to have a smooth and shiny body, and whose tail is blue in juveniles and young adults. Western Skinks lack a skin fold on the side of the body and keeled scales. The distinct dorsal stripes of the Western Skink are not displayed by the other three species of Montana lizards. Only the Northern Alligator Lizard occurs in the range of the Western Skink in Montana.

Western skink images

Western skink

Western skink

Western skink

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