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Plestiodon egregius BAIRD, 1858

IUCN Red List - Plestiodon egregius - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesPlestiodon egregius egregius BAIRD 1858
Plestiodon egregius insularis (MOUNT 1965)
Plestiodon egregius lividus (MOUNT 1965)
Plestiodon egregius onocrepis (COPE 1871)
Plestiodon egregius similis (MCCONKEY 1957) 
Common NamesE: Mole Skink
egregius: Florida Keys Mole Skink
insularis:: 210 Cedar Key Mole Skink
lividus: Bluetail Mole Skink
onocrepis: Peninsula Mole Skink
similis: Northern Mole Skink 
SynonymPlestiodon egregius BAIRD 1858: 256
Eumeces egregius — TAYLOR 1936: 490
Eumeces egregius — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 135
Eumeces egregius — GRIFFITH, NGO & MURPHY 2000
Plestiodon egregius — SCHMITZ et al. 2004
Eumeces egregius — JENSEN et al. 2008: 305
Eumeces egregius egregius — MAYS et al. 2017
Plestiodon egregious — CHEN et al. 2020 (in error)

Plestiodon egregius insularis (MOUNT 1965)
Eumeces egregius insularis MOUNT 1965: 210
Plestiodon egregius insularis — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009

Plestiodon egregius lividus (MOUNT 1965)
Eumeces egregius lividus MOUNT 1965
Plestiodon egregius lividus — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009

Plestiodon egregius onocrepis (COPE 1871: 82)
Plistodon [sic] onocrepis COPE 1871: 82
Eumeces egregius onocrepis — MOUNT 1965
Plestiodon egregius onocrepis — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009
Plestiodon egregius onocrepis — SCOTT et al. 2012
Plestiodon egregius onocrepis — ENGE 2021

Plestiodon egregius similis (MCCONKEY 1957)
Eumeces egregius similis MCCONKEY 1957
Eumeces egregius similis — MOUNT 1965
Plestiodon egregius similis — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009
Plestiodon egregius similis — GUYER et al. 2018 
DistributionUSA (Alabama, S Georgia, Florida)

egregius: Florida keys and dry Tortugas. Type locality: Indian Key, Pinellas County, Florida.

similis: USA (N Florida, Alamabama, S Georgia). Type locality: NW outskirts of Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia.

insularis: Levy county, Florida. Type locality: Cedar Key airstrip, Levy County, Florida.

onocrepis: Florida peninsula. Type locality: “, 1936), from Dummet's Plantation (=Dummett's Grove, near Allenhurst on Merritt I., Brevard County, Florida”.

lividus: Polk and Highlands counties, Florida. Type locality: E side of Hwy 27, 5.2 miles N Avon Park, Polk County, Florida.  
TypesSyntypes: USNM 3127 (2 specimens)
Holotype: UF 12598.4 (Florida State Museum of Natural History) [insularis]
Holotype: UF 12642.1 (Florida State Museum of Natural History) [lividus]
Holotype: lost, formerly YPM (lost fide Taylor, 1936), from Dummet's Plantation (=Dummett's Grove, near Allenhurst on Merritt I;, Brevard County, Florida, fide Mount, 1965), collected by C.J. Maynard [onocrepis]
Holotype: UF 7647 (Florida State Museum of Natural History) [similis] 
DiagnosisDEFINITION. This is a fairly small species of Eumeces (adults from 34 to 62 mm snout-vent length; females average 4.5 mm longer than males). The limbs are reduced, the primary temporal is lacking, and the ear opening is partially closed. There are usually three supraoculars. Scale rows at midbody number 18 to 24. Both head and body lack a median light stripe. Sexually active males are suffused with yellow, orange, or reddish-orange on the lips, chin, sides of neck, lower sides of the body, and occasionally on the ventrum. (Mount 1968)

DIAGNOSIS (egregius). A subspecies of E. egregius in which approximately 60 per cent of the individuals have 22 or more scale rows at midbody and in which the reddish-orange or orange suffusion in sexually mature males frequently extends downward to occupy some or all of the venter (Mount 1965).

DIAGNOSIS (onocrepis). A variable race of Eumeces egregius characterized by having a brown, red, orange, yellow, pinkish, or lavender tail in conjunction with dorsolateral light stripes that widen or diverge or both (Mount 1965).

DIAGNOSIS (similis). A race of Eumeces egregius having a reddish orange,
reddish brown, or orange tail, dorsolateral light stripes that neither widen nor diverge, 21 or fewer scale rows at midbody (usually), 6 supralabial scales on each side, and one in which the hatchlings have easily discernible markings on the dorsum (Mount 1965).

DIAGNOSIS (lividus). A subspecies of Eumeces egregius having a bright blue tail in the young and in some adults, widening and diverging dorsolateral light stripes, and 7 supralabial scales on each side (Mount 1965).

DIAGNOSIS (insularis). A subspecies of Eumeces egregius having inconspicuous dorsolateral light stripes which neither widen nor diverge, 21 or fewer scale rows at mid-body, large body size, and in which the hatchlings in life are almost black in color (Mount 1965). 
CommentDistribution: for map of subspecies see Gibbons et al. 2009: 97

Mole skinks do not reach the body size of sympatric species of skinks and retain decoy coloration throughout development. Both patterns of scarring in museum specimens and attacks on plasticine models suggest that red coloration serves as a decoy, attracting attacks to the autotomous tail. While predation rates were similar across habitats, models with red tails were attacked far less frequently in open habitats than models with blue tails, while attack rates were similar in closed habitats (Heninger et al. 2020).

Subspecies: Mount 1965: 211 provides a key to the subspecies of P. egregius. 
  • Babbitt, L.H. 1951. Courtship and Mating of Eumeces egregius Copeia 1951 (1): 79. - get paper here
  • Baird, S.F. 1859. Description of new genera and species of North American lizards in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 10: 253-256 [1858] - get paper here
  • 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
  • Chen, M., Liu, J., Chen, D. et al. 2020. Complete mitochondrial genome of a blue-tailed skink Plestiodon capito (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae) and comparison with other Scincidae lizards. Genetica (2020) - get paper here
  • Collins, J.T. and T. W. Taggart 2009. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Sixth Edition. Center for North American Herpetology, 48 pp.
  • 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, Edward D. 1871. Catalogue of Reptilia and Batrachia obtained by C. J. Maynard in Florida. Second and Third Annual Reports of the Trustees of the Peabody Academy of Science for the years 1869 and 1870: 82-84
  • 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
  • ENGE, KEVIN M. 2021. Geographic distribution: PLESTIODON EGREGIUS ONOCREPIS (Peninsula Mole Skink). USA: FLORIDA: Manatee Co. Herpetological Review 52 (3): 577. - get paper here
  • Enge, Kevin M., Cody D. Godwin and Jonathan D. Mays. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Plestiodon egregius similis (northern mole skink). Herpetological Review 46 (2): 218 - get paper here
  • Enge, Kevin M., Cody D. Godwin, Paul E. Moler and Jonathan D. Mays. 2015. Plestiodon egregius onocrepis (peninsula mole skink) albinism. Herpetological Review 46 (2): 259 - get paper here
  • Gibbons, Whit; Judy Greene, and Tony Mills 2009. LIZARDS AND CROCODILIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST. University of Georgia Press, 240 pp.
  • Gilbert, Carter R. 1974. Catalogue of type specimens in the Department of Natural Sciences, Florida State Museum. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum Biological Sciences 18 (2): 102-120 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Heninger, R., Watson, C. M. & Cox, C. L. 2020. Relative fitness of decoy coloration is mediated by habitat type. Zoology 125820 - get paper here
  • Hill, E. Pierson. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Plestiodon egregius (Mole Skink). Herpetological Review 47 (1): 81-82 - get paper here
  • Janson, H.S. 1954. Notes on the Lizard Eumeces egregius in Georgia Copeia 1954 (3): 229. - get paper here
  • Jensen, J. B. & Stevenson, D. J. 2012. Plestiodon egregius (mole skink) mating activity. Herpetological Review 43: 650 - 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.
  • Kauffeld, C.F. 1941. The Red-Tailed Skink, Eumeces egregius, in Alabama Copeia 1941 (1): 51. - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1929. On Some Skinks of the Genus Eumeces from North America Copeia 173: 111-112. - get paper here
  • Mays, Jonathan D., Enge, Kevin M., Emerick, Adam and Hill, E. Pierson 2017. New island records for reptiles in the Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida, USA. Herpetological Review 48 (1): 145-146 - get paper here
  • McConkey, Edwin H. 1957. The subspecies of Eumeces egregius, a lizard of the southeastern United States. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 2 (2): 13-23 - get paper here
  • Mount, Robert H. 1963. The natural history of the red-tailed skink, Eumeces egregius Baird. American Midland Naturalist 70 (2): 356-385 - get paper here
  • Mount, Robert H. 1965. Variation and systematics of the scincoid lizard, Eumeces egregius (Baird). Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 9 (5): 183-213 - get paper here
  • Mount, Robert H. 1968. Eumeces egregius. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (73): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Neill, W.T., Jr. 1940. Eumeces egregius in Georgia Copeia 1940 (4): 266. - 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, G.C. & C.E. Roeding 1973. Evidence for Vaginal Sperm Storage in the Mole Skink, Eumeces egregius Copeia 1973 (2): 346-347. - 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
  • Schrey, Aaron W.; Kyle G. Ashton, Stacy Heath, Henry R. Mushinsky, and Earl D. McCoy 2012. Range-Wide Genetic Analysis of the Threatened Bluetail Mole Skink Identifies Similar Genetic Structure with Sympatric Lizards. Journal of Herpetology 46 (2): 241-247. - get paper here
  • Scott, J., Dye, D. et al. 2012. FHF snapshot. HerpNation 2.5 (8): 18-22 - get paper here
  • Stevenson, Dirk J.;Willis, Beth A. 1999. Geographic distribution. Eumeces egregius similis. Herpetological Review 30 (1): 52 - get paper here
  • Stuart, Gary W.; Karen Moffett and Jeffery J. Leader 2002. A Comprehensive Vertebrate Phylogeny Using Vector Representations of Protein Sequences from Whole Genomes. Mol. Biol. Evol. 19 (4):554–562 - 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
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