Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)
6 species in Maryland
Unlike snakes, lizards have moveable eyelids, an external ear opening, two well-developed lungs, and a lower jaw that is fused, restricting the gape and limiting the size of prey that can be swallowed (Mitchell 1994). Although legless forms do exist, all species of lizards found in Maryland have legs.
There are six species of lizards that have been reported to occur in Maryland. A total of four species are in the skink family (Scincidae); including the broad-headed skink (Plestiodon laticeps), common five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), northern coal skink (Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus), and little brown skink (Scincella lateralis). An additional species, the southeastern five-line skink is known from only one museum specimen. Lacking confirmation, it is unlikely this species is a natural part of the Maryland herpetofauna. As a group, the skinks are characterized by smooth, flat scales that make the lizard look shiny. They also have small, flat bones (osteoderms) under each of the scales on the head, body, and tail. The legs are relatively short for lizards. There are two other families of lizards that have been found in Maryland, and they are each represented by one species. The whiptails (Family Teiidae) are represented by the eastern six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus sexlineatus) and the spiny lizards (Family Phrynosomatidae) are represented by the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporous undulatus).
Number of Species in Maryland
Spiny Lizards (Phrynosomatidae)
Click on a picture or species name for profiles
of each of the 5 species of Maryland’s Scincidae.
|Common Name||Scientific Name||State Status|
|Broad-headed Skink||Plestiodon laticeps|
|Common Five-lined Skink||Plestiodon fasciatus|
|Northern Coal Skink||Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus||Endangered|
|Little Brown Skink||Scincella lateralis|
Click on a picture or species name for a profile
of the 1 species of Maryland’s Teiidae.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
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- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
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The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.