Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘skink’

I usually try to fill the frame as much as possible when I photograph wildlife, but it is equally cool sometimes to take a wider shot that shows the subject’s environment. That was the case with this photo of a Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps) that I took last Friday at Occoquan Regional Park. As many of you know, during this time of the year I shoot most often with a macro lens that does not zoom. When I spotted this skink from a distance, I took this shot, suspecting that the skink would scamper away if I got any closer. As soon as I took one more step, the skink disappeared under the tree.

I love the contrast between the bright orange head of the skink and the vibrant green moss on the trunk of the fallen tree. This is probably a male skink, given that the head in males becomes bright orange, as in the photo, during the mating season (spring) but fades and reduces in size in other times of the year.

Broad-headed Skink

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

When I posted a photograph last week of a skink with a bright blue tail, I noted that a skink can shed its tail if a predator grabs onto it. I never suspected that two days later I would encounter a skink with a missing tail. When I first spotted it, I was so drawn to the detailed scallop pattern on its body that I did not even notice its really short tail. (Click on the image to get a closer view of that wonderful texture.) The coloration suggests to me that this is a Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps), not the more common Five-lined Skink that I featured last week.

I was also drawn to the orange coloration of the head. According to the Virginia Herpetological website, the head in male Broad-headed Skinks becomes bright orange and enlarged in the temporal region during the spring mating season. Perhaps the skink lost its tail during a fight with a rival—the website cited above notes that adult males are particularly aggressive to other males during the mating season.

In case you need a reminder about how long a skink’s tail should be, check out the posting from last week Young skink in May. Some of you may have read my bad joke about skinks in the comment section of that posting, but it seems so appropriate that I can’t help but repeat it here. “Do you know what skinks do when they lose their tails? They go to a retail store.” Sorry. 🙂

 

Broad-headed Skink

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I really love the look of young Common Five-lined Skinks (Plestiodon fasciatus), when their tails are bright blue, like this one that I spotted last Thursday while exploring in Prince William County. The blue color gradually fades as the skinks mature and as a result it becomes a bit harder to spot the adults in the wild.

We do not have very many lizards where I live, so I am always happy to see one of these skinks. They are generally about 5 to 8.5 inches in length (13 to 21 cm), including their tails, and tend to be very skittish. I have read that a skink can shed its tail if a predator grabs onto it and then regenerate somewhat imperfectly the lost portion of the tail, but I have never knowingly seen a skink with a regrown tail.

Common Five-lined Skink

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

It was quite startling to see the bright orange color on the head of this Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps) yesterday at Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, Virginia. We do not have many lizards in our area and they all tend to blend in much better with their surroundings than this one did.

According to information from the Virginia Herpetological Society, adult males of this species are uniformly brown most of the year. However, during mating season in the spring the head of the males becomes enlarged and turns bright orange. The color of their heads gradually fade and the head is reduced in size the rest of the year.

Broad-headed Skink

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

The bright blue color of a juvenile skink’s tail is so startling and whimsical that I never fail to smile whenever I see one. When I first spotted this Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), it was basking in the sun on top of a concrete fishing platform at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. As I approach, it scurried under the platform and I stopped and waited. Eventually the skink poked its head out and cautiously crawled forward and I was able to capture this image.

Generally I prefer a more natural backdrop for my shots of insects and amphibians, but in this case I really like the varied colors and textures of the man-made materials. I also like the angular lines that contrast nicely with the curves of the skink’s body. Finally the neutral colors of the image help to draw the viewer’s eyes to the beautiful blue tail.

juvenile skink

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

A warm, sunny springtime day caused all kinds of creatures to appear, including this Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) that I spotted on a concrete fishing platform at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge in Alexandria, Virginia. This variety of skinks is one of the few lizards in the area in which I live and the skinks tend to be elusive and skittish, so I generally see only the tail of the skink as it is running away.

This skink and I engaged in a protracted game of hide-and-seek as I sought to get close enough for some shots. Although I would have been a bit happier with a more natural backdrop, I am relatively content with the images that I was able to capture.

Common Five-lined Skink

 

Common Five-lined Skink

Common Five-lined Skink

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

When this Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) is standing up, it looks pretty tall, but as the second image shows, it can get down so low that I don’t think that you could want to challenge it to a limbo contest.

How low can you go?

skinkCommon FIve-lined Skink

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Is it just me, or does the word “skink” sound funny to you? Certain words simply sound odd to me and for some reason “skink” is one of them—I can’t help but smile whenever I say the word out loud.

Recently I took this shot of a Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus, formerly Eumeces fasciatus) at my local marshland park. It was sunning itself on a rotten log and didn’t detect my presence immediately and run away, which is what usually happens when I spot a skink. It seems to have its head cocked a little and has a smile on its face, as though daydreaming, as I do when sunbathing.

skink1_blog

 

I wonder if you could use “skink” as a verb to describe the crawling-type behavior typical of a skink, as in, “I saw my friend skinking about.” If “skink” were a verb, would it follow the model of “drink,” with verbal forms that included “skank” and “skunk?”  That might induce a bit of confusion, I suppose, since “skank” suggests a different kind of behavior, as does “skunk.” English can be a strange language.

I’ll just continue smiling.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »