Plestiodon multivirgatus

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Plestiodon multivirgatus'm
Many Lined Skink.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Plestiodon
P. multivirgatus
Binomial name
Plestiodon multivirgatus
Hallowell, 1857
Plestiodon multivirgatus distribution.png
  • Plestiodon multivirgatum Hallowell, 1857
  • Eumeces multivirgatus
    Cope, 1875
  • Eumeces gaigeae
    Taylor, 1935
  • Eumeces multivirgatus gaigeae Lowe, 1955
  • Eumeces multivirgatus
    Stebbins, 1985
  • Plestiodon multivirgatus
    Schmitz et al., 2004

Plestiodon multivirgatus, commonly known as the many-lined skink, the northern many-lined skink, or the variable skink, is a medium-sized species of lizard, a member of the North American skink genus Plestiodon in the family Scincidae.


The taxonomy of this species is somewhat unclear, even amongst researchers. Most commonly, two subspecies are recognized:

  • P. m. multivirgatus (Hallowell, 1857) – northern many-lined skink
  • P. m. epipleurotus (Cope, 1880) – variable skink

The latter is sometimes treated as a separate species Plestiodon epipleurotus or Plestiodon gaigeae (Taylor, 1935), or given as the subspecies P. m. gaigeae. These last two scientific names are in honor of American herpetologist Helen Beulah Thompson Gaige (1890–1976) of the University of Michigan.[2]

P. m. epipleurotus is also called the two-lined skink.


The many-lined skink is a medium-sized skink reaching a maximum length from snout to vent (SVL) of about 7.5 cm (3.0 in) and a total length of roughly 19 cm (7 12 in). Its body is olive to brown in color. P. m. multivirgatus has black stripes along the body and tail, while P. m. epipleurotus has two white stripes with black borders.

Geographic range & habitat[edit]

The geographic range of P. m. multivirgatus is limited in the north by southern South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming and extends in the south to the Arkansas River in Colorado. P. m. multivirgatus prefers sandy soil and occurs in habitat below 1,675 m (5,495 ft).

P. m. epipleurotus occurs from south-eastern Utah and southern Colorado through Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas to Chihuahua in Mexico. It lives in rocky habitat up to elevations of 2,600 m (8,500 ft).


  1. ^ "Plestiodon multivirgatus ". The Reptile Database.
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Eumeces multivirgatus gaigeae, p. 97).

Further reading[edit]

  • Behler JL, King FW (1979). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 743 pp. ISBN 0-394-50824-6. (Eumeces multivirgatus, p. 574 + Plate 422).
  • Conant R (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. xviii + 429 pp. + Plates 1-48. ISBN 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Eumeces multivirgatus, pp. 128–129 + Plate 19 + Map 78).
  • Hallowell E (1857). "Description of several new North American Reptiles". Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 9: 215-216. ("Plestiodon multivirgatum [sic]", new species, p. 215).
  • Powell R Conant R, Collins JT (2016). Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. xiv + 494 pp., 47 plates, 207 figures. ISBN 978-0-544-12997-9. (Plestiodon multivirgatus, p. 310 + Plate 29).
  • Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Eumeces multivirgatus, pp. 78–79).
  • Stebbins RC (2003). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series ®. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN 978-0-395-98272-3. (Eumeces multivirgatus, pp. 311–312 + Plate 36 + Map 111).

External links[edit]