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Plestiodon multivirgatus HALLOWELL, 1857

IUCN Red List - Plestiodon multivirgatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesPlestiodon multivirgatus multivirgatus HALLOWELL 1857
Plestiodon multivirgatus epipleurotus (COPE 1880) 
Common Namesepipleurotus: Many-lined Skink
multivirgatus: Northern Many-lined Skink
epipleurotus: Variable Skink 
SynonymPlestiodon multivirgatum HALLOWELL 1857: 215
Plestiodon leptogrammus BAIRD 1858: 256
Eumeces multivirgatus — COPE 1875: 45
Eumeces Bocourtii BOULENGER 1883: 342 (non BROCCHI)
Eumeces humilis BOULENGER 1887: 377 nom. nov. (fide HEYL 1957: 120)
Eumeces multivirgatus — TAYLOR 1936: 341
Eumeces multivirgatus — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 165
Eumeces humilis — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 166
Eumeces multivirgatus multivirgatus — DIXON & MEDICA 1965
Eumeces multivirgatus multivirgatus — MECHAM 1980
Eumeces multivirgatus — STEBBINS 1985: 146
Eumeces multivirgatus — TANNER 1987
Eumeces multivirgatus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 134
Eumeces multivirgatus — GRIFFITH, NGO & MURPHY 2000
Plestiodon multivirgatus — SCHMITZ et al. 2004

Eumeces multivirgatus epipleurotus COPE 1880
Eumeces epipleurotus COPE 1880: 40
Eumeces epipleurotis COPE 1880 (fide COCHRAN 1961: 111, in error)
Eumeces gaigeae TAYLOR 1935: 219
Eumeces gaigei — BAILEY 1937
Eumeces taylori SMITH 1942 (fide KLUGE 1984: 25)
Eumeces gaigei — SMITH 1946
Eumeces taylori — SMITH 1946
Eumeces gaigei [sic] — LOWE 1955
Eumeces multivirgatus gaigeae — LOWE 1955
Eumeces multivirgatus gaigei — MASLIN 1957
Eumeces multivirgatus gaigeae — SMITH & WILLIAMS 1961
Eumeces multivirgatus gaigei — DIXON & MEDICA 1965
Eumeces multivirgatus epipleurotus — MECHAM 1980
Eumeces multivirgatus epipleurotus — CROTHER 2000
Plestiodon multivirgatus epipleurotus — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009 
DistributionUSA (SE Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, S Utah, NE Arizona, New Mexico, W Texas)

epipleurotus: USA (W Texas, New Mexico); Type locality: Platte River, Fort Kearney, Buffalo County, Nebraska.

Type locality: Cow Creek, Larimer County, Colorado [see comment]  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 9371
Lectotype: USNM 9219 (formerly 5411), collected by C.S. McCarthy (fide Cochran, 1961), designation by Taylor 1935: 343. Other syntype: USNM 5263 (2), northern boundary of Texas, collected J.H. Clark [epipleurotus]
Holotype: UMMZ 70516 [taylori]
Syntypes: USNM 3119, 3110 [Plestiodon leptogrammus] 
CommentDistribution: Reports from Mexico (Chihuahua) uncertain fide SMITH & TAYLOR 1950, but again reported by Tanner 1987, Lemos-Espinal 2015. Not listed in LINER 1994. The original type locality was given as “Posa Creek, 460 miles west of Fort Riley, Kansas”.

Subspecies: MECHAM 1957 showed that neither Eumeces gaigei nor Eumeces taylori are separable as valid species from Eumeces multivirgatus. Recognition of Eumeces gaigei as a distinct species is shown to have been the result of confusion caused by ontogenetic pattern change. Eumeces taylori is demonstrated to be an allelomorphic pattern variant. Ecological distribution of the striped and unstriped (taylori) phases in New Mexico and western Texas indicates that the unstriped phase may be of superior selective value in the lower and more xeric habitats.

History: This species was first described by Hallowell (1857) who based his description on a single adult specimen collected in Colorado. The specimen was characterized by a series of longitudinal a series of longitudinal light stripes on the body. A year later, Baird (1858), having overlooked Hallowell' s paper, described it again under a different name, and, in addition, described a second unlined species on the basis of two specimens. Cope (1880) on the basis of two individuals from Texas provided us with another name. Further collecting showed all of these forms to be conspecific [...]. Then in 1935 Taylor described a species E. gaigeae on the basis of two adult specimens he collected from Taos, New Mexico, well within the range of E. multivirgatus. This form is chiefly characterized by possessing only two dorso-lateral light lines. Then Smith (1942), on the basis of three specimens from Guadelupe Mountains of Texas and sourthern New Mexico, [...] described a lineless skink under the name E. taylori. The subsequent collection of eight additional specimens and a revaluation of the problem finally convinced Lowe (1955) that all three species are conspecific and merely represent 3 subspecies, or less, of E. multivirgatus. Maslin (1957) [...] found evidence that E. m. gaigeae undergoes a rather radical ontogenetic change whereas the typical subspecies E. m. multivirgatus does not. During the course of its change in color pattern, gaigeae as a juvenile possesses 3 conspicuous stripes which later become less conspicuous and the median stripe becomes nearly obsolete. [...] More recently Smith (1957) and Mecham (1957) have postulated that the lineless condition of taylori is an allelomorphic color phase of multivirgatus and, do not admit polymorphism as a valid subspecific consideration in spite of the fact that here there is evidence of a somewhat restricted geographical distribution of the allele concerned (Maslin 1959).

Genetics: P. multivirgatus acquired its mitochondrial genome from P. tetragrammus after their initial divergence (Moseley et al. 2015). 
  • Anderson, James D.;Wilhoft, Daniel C. 1959. A new subspecies of Eumeces multivirgatus from Mexico. Copeia 1959 (1): 57-60 - get paper here
  • Axtell, Ralph W. 1961. Eumeces epipleurotus Cope, a revived name for the southwestern skink Eumeces multivirgatus gaigei Taylor. Texas Journal of Science 13 (3): 345-351 - get paper here
  • Axtell, Ralph W. & Hobart M. Smith 2004. Clarification of name usage for the variable skink, Eumeces multivirgatus epipleurotus. Southwestern Naturalist 49 (1): 100 - get paper here
  • Bailey, J.R. 1937. Three Additional Specimens of Eumeces gaigei Herpetologica 1 (3): 96. - get paper here
  • Bartlett, R. D. & Bartlett, P. 1999. A Field Guide to Texas Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas, 331 pp.
  • Berryhill, J T & Hathcock, C D; 2018. Plestiodon multivirgatus (Many-lined Skink) Predation. Herpetological Review 49 (4): 746 - get paper here
  • Bezy, Robert L. and Charles J. Cole 2014. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Madrean Archipelago of Arizona and New Mexico. American Museum Novitates (3810): 1-24 - 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
  • 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, E.D. 1875. Check-list of North American Batrachia and Reptilia with a systematic list of the higher groups, and an essay on geographical distribution based on specimens contained in the U.S. National Museum. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 1: 1-104 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Daugherty, A.E. 1942. Westernmost Record of Eumeces multivirgatus Copeia 1942 (1): 51. - get paper here
  • Degenhardt, William G.; C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price 1996. Amphibians and reptiles of New Mexico. Univ. New Mexico Press, 431 pp.
  • Dixon, James R. 1971. A noteworthy record of Eumeces multivirgatus from Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 15 (4): 502 - get paper here
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Everett, Charles T. 1971. Courtship and Mating of Eumeces multivirgatus (Scincidae). Journal of Herpetology 5 (3-4): 189-190 - get paper here
  • Goldberg, S. R. & Bursey, C. R. 2012. Plestiodon multivirgatus (many-lined skink) endoparasites. Herpetological Review 43: 651 - get paper here
  • Goldberg, S.R. 2012. Reproduction of the Many-lined Skink, Plestiodon multivirgatus (Squamata: Scincidae) from New Mexico. Sonoran Herpetologist 25 (8):74-76. - 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
  • Hallowell,E. 1857. Description of several new North American Reptiles. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 9: 215 - get paper here
  • Heyl, Daniel H.;Smith, Hobart M. 1957. Another unicolor many-lined skink from Nebraska. Herpetologica 13: 12-14 - get paper here
  • Jones, L.L. & Lovich, R.E. 2009. Lizards of the American Southwest. A photographic field guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, AZ, 568 pp. [review in Reptilia 86: 84] - get paper here
  • Legler, John M.;Webb, Robert G. 1960. Noteworthy records of skinks (genus Eumeces) from northwestern Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 5 (1): 16-20 - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal, Julio A. (ed.) 2015. Amphibians and Reptiles of the US - Mexico Border States / Anfibios y Reptiles de los Estados de la Frontera México - Estados Unidos. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas. x + 614 pp.; ISBN 978-1-62349-306-6. - get paper here
  • Lowe, C.H. 1955. The evolutionary relationships of the narrow-lined skinks of the Inland-Southwest, Eumeces taylori, E.gaigei, and E. multivirgatus. Herpetologica 11: 233-235 - get paper here
  • Lynch, J.D. 1985. Annotated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nebraska. Nebraska Acad. of Sci., Lincoln, Trans. 13: 33-57.
  • Maslin, T. Paul 1959. The nature of amphibian and reptilian species. Journal of the Arizona Academy of Science 1 (1): 8-17 - get paper here
  • Maslin, T.P. 1957. Notes on the lizard Eumeces multivirgatus gaigeae from Colorado and Utah. Herpetologica 13, 87–90. - get paper here
  • Mecham, J S 1980. Eumeces multivirgatus (Hallowell). Many-lined skink. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 241: 1-2 - get paper here
  • Mecham, John S. 1957. The taxonomic status of some southwestern skinks of the multivirgatus group. Copeia 1957 (2): 111-123 - get paper here
  • Moseley, Matthew A.; Christian L. Cox, Jeffrey W. Streicher, Corey E. Roelke and Paul T. Chippindale 2015. Phylogeography and lineage-specific patterns of genetic diversity and molecular evolution in a group of North American skinks. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, DOI: 10.1111/bij.12626 - get paper here
  • Platt, S.G. et al. 2006. A herpetofaunal survey of southwestern South Dakota with an emphasis on species of conservation concern. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (20): 10-19 - 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, H.M. & K.L. Williams 1962. The Nomen Oblitum Rule of the 1961 International Code of Zoological Nomenclature Herpetologica 18 (1): 11-13. - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1942. A new name for a United States skink. Proc. New England zool. Club 21: 93-95
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1946. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Comstock, Ithaca, NY, xxii + 557 pp.
  • Smith, Hobart M.; Hammerson, Geoffrey A.; Chiszar, David; Ramotnik, Cindy 1993. Eumeces multivirgatus multivirgatus (Northern many-lined skink). USA: Colorado. Herpetological Review 24 (4): 154 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M.;Holland, Richard L. 1993. Eumeces multivirgatus multivirgatus (Northern Many-lined Skink). USA: Colorado. Herpetological Review 24 (2): 66 - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Tanner, Wilmer W. 1957. A new skink of the multivirgatus group from Chihuahua. Great Basin Naturalist 17 (3-4): 111-117 - 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
  • Taylor, Edward H. 1935. A new species of the genus Eumeces from New Mexico. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 22 (11): 219-223 - get paper here
  • Taylor-Young, M. 2011. The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 169 pp.
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