Monday, July 4, 2016

Five Scales?

According to Maryland's Department of Natural Resources there are four species of skinks endemic to the state, two of which are very closely related--too closely related for me to distinguish between them. They are the broad-headed skink and the five-lined skink. The one I showed you yesterday is almost certainly a common five-lined skink. The one above, though, has got me stumped. Here's how the DNR says you can tell them apart:

"Experienced herpers will differentiate between these species by counting the number of labial scales on the upper lip between the nostril and the corner of the eye of the animals. Broad-headed skinks have five scales; five-lined skinks have four. This should only be attempted by experienced handlers, as these animals have powerful jaws that can deliver a painful bite."

But, now, if you'll excuse me, there's no way I'm going to sit here and count the scales between this guy's eye and his nose--powerful jaws or not. So I'll leave it for the "experienced handlers" to decide. :-)


  1. thanks for the zoology lesson, it's been a while

  2. :-) You refuse to count and make me guess?!

  3. I've not come across skinks before ... but it's a great photo

    All the best Jan


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