Lizards in our midst

Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)

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So strange to find a lizard in Ontario but they’re definitely here. Yesterday around noon, I found this adult male in a rocky outcrop laden with deadfall and thorn scrub. The Five-lined Skink is Ontario’s only native lizard species. They occur in two areas; the Carolinian region and along the Southern Shield ecotone. The two populations are genetically isolated and have differing habitat associations. The Southern Shield population favours rocky areas while the Carolinian version prefers sandy habitats. The Carolinian population, listed as Endangered, is small and restricted to just a few sites in southwestern Ontario. Five-lined Skinks of the shield are considered more numerous although relatively little is known about their ecology and abundance. The shield population is listed as a Species at Risk with a status of Special Concern. More information on this remarkable species can be found here.

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Unlike this adult, the juvenile Five-lined Skink is quite colourful with its black body and bright azure blue tail. Click here for a photo of a younger individual. Apparently they lose their colour as they age. After first spotting this adult dart away I wondered if I might be lucky enough to get a photo. This little guy was fast and fidgety, making it difficult to get a view of more than just a tail tip or leg. I accumulated a large batch of poor photos before I opted to stand still and change some settings on my camera. The skink then proceeded to slowly amble over to check out my shoe!

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