Plestiodon gilberti


Plestiodon gilberti, Gilbert's skink, is a species of heavy-bodied medium-sized lizard of the family of skinks It is endemic to the southwestern United States, and grows to about 7 to 12 cm 3 to 45 in in total length

Contents

  • 1 Taxonomy
  • 2 Geographic range
  • 3 Habitat
  • 4 Description
  • 5 Behavior
  • 6 Reproduction
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 Further reading
  • 10 External links

Taxonomyedit

Plestiodon gilberti was first described by Van Denburgh in 1896 It was named in honor of Van Denburgh's teacher, American ichthyologist Dr Charles H Gilbert 1859 - 1928, who at the time was a professor of zoology at Stanford University2

There are five subspecies of Plestiodon gilberti:

  • Arizona skink, P g arizonensis Lowe and Shannon, 1954
  • Greater brown skink, P g gilberti Van Denburgh, 1896
  • Northern brown skink, P g placerensis Rodgers, 1944
  • Variegated skink, P g cancellosus Rodgers and Fitch, 1947
  • Western red-tailed skink, P g rubricaudatus Taylor, 1935

P g placerensis got its name from Placer County, California, where it occurs

Together with the western skink P skiltonianus, the San Lucan skink P lagunensis, and the four-lined Asiatic skink P quadrilineatus, Gilbert's skink belongs to the so-called "skiltonianus group" The exact taxonomy within this group is being questioned and may need revision following DNA analysis research

Geographic rangeedit

Gilbert's skink occurs mainly in California It is found in the northern San Joaquin Valley, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada from Butte County southward, and along the inner flanks of the Coast Ranges from San Francisco Bay to the Mexican border and into northern Baja California It is also found in the mountains of southern California, and at scattered mountain localities in the eastern desert from Mono County to San Bernardino County Isolated populations also occur in western Arizona as well as in southern Nevada

Habitatedit

Gilbert's skink occurs in habitats ranging from sea level to elevations of about 2,200 m 7,200 ft Found in a wide variety of habitats, this lizard is commonest in early successional stages or open areas within habitats in which it occurs, which range from grassland to open chaparral or open pine forests Heavy brush and densely forested areas are generally avoided

Descriptionedit

Close-up of head

Gilbert's skink is a heavy-bodied lizard with small legs Adults are uniformly colored in green, grey, olive or brown Juveniles have light stripes on the sides and the back enclosing a broad black or brown stripe This dark stripe stops near base of a waxy-pink tail The striping fades with growth and maturation

Behavioredit

This robust skink is seldom seen in the open It forages through leaf litter and dense vegetation, occasionally digging through loose soil It is a good burrower and often constructs its own shelter by burrowing under surface objects such as rocks or rotting logs Females construct nest chambers in loose moist soil several centimeters deep, especially under flat stones

Reproductionedit

The reproductive season for this species varies geographically and from year to year depending on local conditions Little is known about the timing of reproduction, but it is probably similar to the Western Skink Clutch size varies from 3 to 9 eggs

See alsoedit

  • Broad-headed skink - similar morphology

Referencesedit

  1. ^ The Reptile Database wwwreptile-databaseorg
  2. ^ Beolens, B, M Watkins, and M Grayson 2011 The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles Johns Hopkins University Press Baltimore xiii + 296 pp ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5 Eumeces gilberti, p 100

Further readingedit

  • Behler, JL, and FW King 1979 The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians Knopf New York 743 pp ISBN 0-394-50824-6 Eumeces gilberti, pp 571–572 + Plates 430, 434
  • Smith, HM, and ED Brodie, Jr 1982 Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification Golden Press New York 240 pp ISBN 0-307-13666-3 Eumeces gilberti, pp 78–79
  • Stebbins, RC 2003 A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition The Peterson Field Guide Series ® Houghton Mifflin Boston and New York xiii + 533 pp ISBN 0-395-98272-3 Eumeces gilberti, pp 314–315 + Plate 36 + Map 108
  • Vandenburgh, J 1896 Description of a New Lizard Eumeces gilberti from the Sierra Nevada of California Proc California Acad Sci, Second Series 6: 350-352

External linksedit

  • Gilbert's Skink at the US Geological Survey
  • Gilbert's Skink at the California Department of Fish and Game
  • Plestiodon gilberti at the Encyclopedia of Life


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