Florida Keys mole skink

FloridaKeysMoleSkink.jpg

Florida Keys mole skink: Plestiodon egregius egregius

Taxonomic Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus/Species: Plestiodon egregious
Subspecies: Plestiodon egregious egregious
Common Name: Florida Keys mole skink

Listing Status

Federal Status: Not Listed
FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
FNAI Rank: G4T2/S2 (Globally: Apparently Secured, Sub sp. Imperiled/ State: Imperiled)
IUCN Status: Not ranked

Physical Description

The Florida Keys mole skink is a small brown lizard that can reach a length of five inches (12.7 centimeters) (Christman 1992).  This species has a brownish-colored body with a pink-tinted tail, and two or more light-colored lines that extend from the head down the body, sometimes extending to the tail.  The legs of this species are small and have five toes on each foot (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).

Life History

The diet of the Florida Keys mole skink primarily consists of small arthropods including roaches, spiders, and crickets (Mount 1963).

Little is known about the reproduction of the Florida Keys mole skink.  Females lay a clutch of three to five eggs in underground nests between the months of April and June (Mount 1963, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).  Eggs hatch 31-51 days after being laid.  Females remain with the eggs until they hatch for protection.  This species usually reaches maturity at the age of one year (Christman 1992).

Habitat and Distribution

Florida Keys Mole Skink Distribution Map

The Florida Keys mole skink is a secretive species that inhabits sandy areas under rocks, leaf litter, and tidal wracks (line of washed up vegetation on the beach that consists of dead seaweed and marsh grass) (Carr 1940, Duellman and Schwartz 1958, Christman 1992).  This species can be found in the Florida Keys in Dry Tortugas, Key West, Stock Island, Middle Torch Key, Big Pine Key, Key Vaca, Grassy Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Indian Key, and Key Largo (Christman 1992).   

Threats:

The Florida Keys mole skink faces many threats to its populations such as the destruction of habitat in the Florida Keys.  Development along the shoreline has been the main cause of the destruction of habitat.   Severe hurricanes are also a threat to the mole skink because of storm surge, flooding, and increased wind speeds (Mount 1963).  Potential sea level rise could also affect mole skink habitat found along the shoreline and other low lying areas due to inundation of water. 

Conservation and Management

The Florida Keys mole skink is protected as a State Species of Special Concern by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule External Website.

Biological Status Review (BSR) Adobe PDF
Supplemental Information for the BSR Adobe PDF

Other Informative Links

Florida Natural Areas Inventory External Website

 

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References

Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett.  1999.  A field guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians.  Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas, USA.  280 pp.

Carr, A. F., Jr. 1940.  A contribution to the herpetology of Florida.  University of Florida  Publications, Biological Sciences 3:1–118.

Christman, S. P. 1992.  Florida Keys mole skink, Eumeces egregius egregius (Baird).  Pages 178-180 in P. E. Moler, editor.  Rare and endangered biota of Florida.  Volume III. Amphibians and reptiles.  University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.

Duellman, W. E., and A. Schwartz.  1958.  Amphibians and reptiles of southern Florida.   Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 3:181–324.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory.  2001.  Field guide to the rare animals of Florida.            http://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Eumeces_egregius_egregius.pdf External Website

Mount, R. H.  1963.  The natural history of the red-tailed skink, Eumeces egregius Baird. American Midland Naturalist 70:356–385.


Image Credit Photo by Kevin Enge, FWC



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