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Plestiodon anthracinus BAIRD, 1849

IUCN Red List - Plestiodon anthracinus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesPlestiodon anthracinus anthracinus (BAIRD 1849)
Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis (COPE 1880) 
Common NamesE: Coal Skink
anthracinus: Northern Coal Skink
pluvialis: Southern Coal Skink 
SynonymPlestiodon anthracinus BAIRD 1849
Eumeces anthracinus COPE 1880: 19
Eumeces anthracinus — TAYLOR 1936: 373
Eumeces anthracinus — STOKELY 1947
Eumeces anthracinus anthracinus — SMITH & SMITH 1952
Eumeces anthracinus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 133
Eumeces anthracinus — GRIFFITH, NGO & MURPHY 2000
Plestiodon anthracinus — SCHMITZ et al. 2004
Eumeces anthracinus — JENSEN et al. 2008: 302
Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus — GUYER et al. 2018

Eumeces anthracinus pluvialis COPE 1880
Eumeces pluvialis COPE 1880: 19
Eumeces anthracinus pluvialis — SMITH 1946
Eumeces anthracinus pluvialis — MCCOY 1975
Eumeces anthracinus pluvialis — FOUQUETTE & DELAHOUSSAYE 1966
Eumeces anthracinus pluvialis — DIXON 2000
Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009
Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis — GUYER et al. 2018
Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis — STEVENSON et al. 2021 
DistributionUSA (E Oklahoma, E Kansas, S Missouri, W Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, NW Florida, Alabama, Georgia, NW South Carolina, W North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas)

Type locality: (North Mountain, near Carlisle, Cumberland Co., Pennsylvania

pluvialis: W North Carolina, NE Georgia, Oklahoma; west to SE Kansas and NE Texas; Type locality: "near Mobile, Alabama"  
TypesSyntypes: USNM 3138 (5 specimens)
Neotype: USNM 75291, designated by TAYLOR, holotype lost [pluvialis] 
DiagnosisDefinition. This species is a medium-sized skink (maximum SVL 65 mm), with smooth and overlapping scales. The legs are small but well developed, and overlap when adpressed in most specimens except gravid females. A single postmental is present. supralabials usually number 7 (5-8), infralabials usually 6 (5- 7). Postnasals are absent. Four supraoculars are usually present, 3 in contact with the frontal scales. Superciliary scales usually number 8 (7-9) (Taylor 1935). Other meristic counts are as follows: ventral scales (counted along a midventral line between the postmental scale and the anterior edge of the vent) 44-69 (mean 51.8 +/- 2.6 SD. N = 302): ventral scales between limbs 22-47 (mean 32.7 +/- 2.5, N = 308); 4th toe lamellae 10-18 (mean 13.2 +/- 1.4, N = 310); scale rows around midbody 22-30 (mean 27.2 +/- 1.4, N = 316). Hatchlings are 21-24 mm SVL (mean 22.8 +/- 1.0 mm, N = 19). This is a shiny olive-gray to brown skink dorsally with a broad a dark brown or black lateral stripe. 2-3 scales wide, on each side. This is bordered above by a thin white or greenish white line which originates above or at the posterior corner of the eye, and extends posteriorly through the ear along the length of the body onto the base of the tail. Below the lateral brown stripe is a narrow white line extending from the ear to the groin, bordered by a narrow dark area which fades into the gray or bluish-gray ventral coloration. Occasionally a faint middorsal stripe IS present on the neck, rarely extending the length of the body, and never involving the head scales. Irregular light marks may be present on the sides of the head, the most prominent of which are reddish spots on the last 2 supralabials (Smith 1946a). Juveniles may be marked like the adults, or may be uniformly black with reddish spots on the head. Individuals from south ern and western populations (pluvialis) have a bright blue tail. (Walley 1998) 
EtymologyNamed after Greek “anthrakos” = coal, carbon & Latin -inus = pertaining to, after the dark color of the species, especially the dark lateral stripe. 
  • Baird,S.F. 1849. Descriptions of four new species of North American Salamanders, and one new species of Scink. Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila (Ser. 2) 1: 292-294 - get paper here
  • Bartlett, R. D. & Bartlett, P. 1999. A Field Guide to Texas Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas, 331 pp.
  • Blackburn, D.G. 1993. STANDARDIZED CRITERIA FOR THE RECOGNITION OF REPRODUCTIVE MODES IN SQUAMATE REPTILES. Herpetologica 49 (1): 118-132 - get paper here
  • BRANDLEY, MATTHEW C.; OTA, HIDETOSHI; HIKIDA, TSUTOMU; NIETO MONTES DE OCA, ADRIAN; FERIA-ORTIZ, MANUEL; GUO, XIANGUANG; WANG, YUEZHAO 2012. The phylogenetic systematics of blue-tailed skinks (Plestiodon) and the family Scincidae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 165 (1): 163-189 - get paper here
  • Brown, Bryce C. 1951. Eumeces anthracinus in Texas. Herpetologica 7: 76 - get paper here
  • Burkett, Ray D. 1964. A new locality record in Texas for the lizard, Eumeces anthracinus pluvialis Cope. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 67 (1): 198 - get paper here
  • Burrage, B.R. 1962. A New Kansas Locality Record for Eumeces Anthracinus Pluvialis Cope Herpetologica 18 (3): 210-211. - get paper here
  • Burt, Charles E. 1935. Further records of the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the middle west. American Midland Naturalist 16 (3): 311-336 - get paper here
  • Butterfield, Brian P., Jesse W. Bradford, Cynthia D. Beene, Wyatt A. Eason, Spencer R. England, Rachel E. Grodi and Timothy R. E. Mickiewics. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis (Southern Coal Skink). Herpetological Review 47 (2): 259 - get paper here
  • Caldwell, K.R. & Patton, T.M. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Plestiodon anthracinus (Coal Skink). Herpetological Review 48 (4): 812 - get paper here
  • Camper, Jeffrey D. 2019. The Reptiles of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, 288 pp. [review in Copeia 107 (3): 590, 2019] - get paper here
  • Carter, Evin T., Todd W. Pierson and Lindsey E. Hayter. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Plestiodon anthracinus (Coal Skink). Herpetological Review 47 (2): 259 - get paper here
  • Clausen, R. 1938. Notes on Eumeces anthracinus in Central New York. Copeia, 1938(1), 3-7 - get paper here
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Cope, E.D. 1880. On the zoological position of Texas. Bull. US Natl. Mus., No. 17: 1-51 - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Dowling, Herndon G. 1950. A new southeastern record for the coal skink. Copeia 1950 (3): 235 - get paper here
  • Dundee, H.A., & Rossman, D.A. 1989. The amphibians and reptiles of Louisiana. Louisiana St. Univ. Press, Baton Rouge 300 pp.
  • Fouquette, M. J.; Jr. and A. J. Delahoussaye 1966. Noteworthy Herpetological Records from Louisiana. Southwestern Naturalist 11 (1): 137-139 - get paper here
  • Gibbons, Whit; Judy Greene, and Tony Mills 2009. LIZARDS AND CROCODILIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST. University of Georgia Press, 240 pp.
  • Green, N.B., & Pauley, T.K. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles in West Virginia. Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 241 pp.
  • Griffith, H., A. Ngo & R. W. Murphy 2000. A cladistic evaluation of the cosmopolitan genus Eumeces Wiegmann (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 7 (1): 1-16 - get paper here
  • Guyer, Craig; Mark A. Bailey, and Robert H. Mount 2018. Lizards and snakes of Alabama. University of Alabama Press, 397 pp. - get paper here
  • Hardy, Laurence M.; Larry R. Raymond and Shannon Harris 2017. The Karyotype of Plestiodon anthracinus (Baird, 1850) (Sauria: Scincidae): A Step Toward Solving an Enigma. Southeastern Naturalist 16 (3):326-330 - get paper here
  • Hikida, T. & Motokawa, J. 1999. Phylogeographical relationships of the skinks of the genus Eumeces (Reptilia; Scincidae) in East Asia. in: Ota, H. (ed.) Tropical Island Herpetofauna, pp. 231-247 - get paper here
  • Hotchkin, P.E., C.D. Camp & J.L. Marshall 2001. Aspects of the Life History and Ecology of the Coal Skink, Eumeces anthracinus, in Georgia Journal of Herpetology 35 (1): 145-148. - get paper here
  • Jensen, John B.; Carlos D. Camp, Whit Gibbons, & Matt J. Elliott 2008. Amphibians and reptiles of Georgia. University of Georgia Press, 575 pp.
  • LATTEA, WILL; AIDAN MCCARTHY, SAM VAN NOY & M. KEVIN HAMED. 2022. Geographic distribution: PLESTIODON ANTHRACINUS (Coal Skink). USA: VIRGINIA: Roanoke Co.: Ft. Lewis Mountain. Herpetological Review 53(2): 263.
  • LATTEA, WILL; AIDAN MCCARTHY, SAM VAN NOY & M. KEVIN HAMED. 2022. Geographic distribution: PLESTIODON ANTHRACINUS (Coal Skink). USA: VIRGINIA: Craig Co. Herpetological Review 53(1): 78.
  • Lemay, L. & A.G. Marsiglia 1952. The Coal Skink, Eumeces anthracinus (Baird), in Maryland Copeia 1952 (3): 193. - get paper here
  • Lemay, L. & A.G. Marsiglia 1970. The Coal Skink, Eumeces anthracinus (Baird), in Maryland Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 6(3): 60-61. - get paper here
  • Liner, Ernest A. 2007. A CHECKLIST OF THE AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF MEXICO. Louisiana State University Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural Science 80: 1-60 - get paper here
  • Martof, B.S., Palmer, W.M., Bailey, J.R., & Harrison, J.R. III 1980. Amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 264 pp. - get paper here
  • McCauley, R.H., Jr. 1940. A Record for Eumeces anthracinus from Georgia Copeia 1940 (1): 50. - get paper here
  • McCoy, Clarence J. 1960. New county records and range extensions for Oklahoma reptiles. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences 40: 41-43 - get paper here
  • Mitchell, J. C. & Reay, K.K. 1999. Atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Virginia. Specialty Publication 1, VA Dept of Game and Fisheries, 122 pp. - get paper here
  • Mitchell, J.C. 1994. The reptiles of Virginia. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, ca. 350 pp.
  • Palmer, W.M. & Braswell, A.L. 1995. Reptiles of North Carolina. Univ. North Carolina Press
  • Pyron, Robert Alexander; Camp, Carlos Duane 2007. Courtship and mating behaviours of two syntopic species of skink (Plestiodon anthracinus and Plestiodon fasciatus). Amphibia-Reptilia 28 (2): 263-268 - get paper here
  • Richmond, J.Q. 2006. Evolutionary basis of parallelism in North American scincid lizards. EVOLUTI ON & DEVELOPMENT 8 (6): 477–490 - get paper here
  • SCHAEFER, CALVIN H. & CHAD E. MONTGOMERY. 2021. Geographic distribution: PLESTIODON ANTHRACINUS PLUVIALIS (Southern Coal Skink). USA: MISSOURI: Osage Co. Herpetological Review 52 (3): 577. - get paper here
  • Schmitz, Andreas; Patrick Mausfeld and Dirk Embert 2004. Molecular studies on the genus Eumeces Wiegmann, 1834: phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic implications. Hamadryad 28 (1-2): 73 – 89 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1946. The systematic status of Eumeces pluvialis Cope, a noteworthy records of other amphibians and reptiles from Kansas and Oklahoma. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 1 (2): 85-89 - get paper here
  • Smith, Philip W.; Smith, Hobart M. 1952. Geographic variation in the lizard Eumeces anthracinus. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 34 (11): 679-694 - get paper here
  • STEVENSON, DIRK J. et al. 2021. New County Records for Amphibians and Reptiles in Georgia, USA. Herpetological Review 52 (2): 350-359
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  • Stevenson, Henry M. 1969. Records of the coal skink in Florida. Quarterly J. Florida Acad. Sci. 31 (3): 205 - get paper here
  • Stokely, Paul Scott 1947. Limblessness and correlated changes in the girdles of a comparative morphological series of lizards. American Midland Naturalist 38 (3): 725-754 - get paper here
  • Taylor, E. H. 1936. A taxonomic study of the cosmopolitan lizards of the genus Eumeces with an account of the distribution and relationship of its species. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 23 (14): 1-643 [1935] - get paper here
  • Telford, S.R., Jr. 1955. The Lizard Eumeces anthracinus in Central Virginia Copeia 1955 (2): 143. - get paper here
  • Walley, H.D. 1997. On the occurrence of bifurcation in the scincid lizard Eumeces anthracinus Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 33(4): 178-180. - get paper here
  • Walley, H.D. 1999. Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) Parasitizing Coal Skink (Eumeces anthracinus) Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 35(3): 76-78. - get paper here
  • Walley, Harlan D. 1998. Eumeces anthracinus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 658: 1-6. - get paper here
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