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NATURAL HISTORY

FLORIDA KEYS MOLE SKINK } Eumeces egregius egregius
FAMILY: Scincidae

DESCRIPTION: The Florida Keys mole skink is a small, shiny lizard that can grow to 5 inches long. Its body is a brownish color covered in tiny, smooth scales, while its tail has a reddish-pink tint. Two or more lighter colored lines extend from the mole skink’s head down its body, occasionally all the way to the tail. Florida Keys mole skinks have small legs, and each of their feet has five toes. Breeding males develop orange to reddish sides.

HABITAT: The Florida Keys mole skink is a secretive creature, so not much is known about its habitat. It prefers sandy areas, living under rocks, leaves, debris and washed-up beach vegetation called tidal wrack, which generally consists of dead seaweed and marsh grass.

RANGE: This mole skink lives in Florida, found mainly in Dry Tortugas and the Lower Keys along the shoreline in sandy areas. It may also occur in Upper and Middle Keys and in Key West, Middle Torch Key, Key Vaca, Stork Island, Big Pine Key, Grassy Key, Upper Matecumbe and Saddlebunch. It is the southernmost of mole skink subspecies.

MIGRATION: This animal is nonmigratory.

BREEDING: Little is known about the breeding habits of the Florida Keys mole skink. Females utilize an underground nest where they lay 3 to 5 eggs between April and June. Females stay with the eggs until they hatch, between 31-51 days after being laid.

LIFE CYCLE: Mole skinks reach maturity at one year, but the full life span of this skink is not scientifically known.

FEEDING: Florida Keys mole skinks primarily consume small arthropods such as roaches, spiders and crickets.

THREATS: This skink is threatened by sea-level rise due to flooding that destroys its habitat, habitat destruction as a result of development along the shoreline of the Florida Keys and overcollection.

POPULATION TREND: The population of the Florida Keys mole skink is declining.

 

Florida Keys mole skink photo © Jake Scott