Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)

Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Lacertilia

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).

Lizard Anatomy​

Lizard Family Number of Species in Maryland
Skink (Scincidae) 4
Whiptails (Teiidae) 1
Spiny Lizards (Phrynosomatidae) 1


Skink (Scincidae)​​ ​​​​​​​​​​

PhotoCommon NameScientific NameState Status

Broad-headed Skink, Photo courtesy of John White
Broad-headed Skink, Photo courtesy of John White

​Broad-headed Skink

​Plestiodon laticeps

Common Five-lined Skink Adult, photo by John White
Photo of Adult Common Five-lined Skink courtesy of John White

​Common Five-lined Skink

​Plestiodon fasciatus

Northern Coal Skink Adult photo by Charlie Stine
Photo of Adult Northern Coal Skink courtesy of Charlie Stine

​Northern Coal Skink

Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus​

Endangered

Little Brown Skink Adult photo by John Kazyak
Little Brown Skink Adult photo courtesy of John Kazyak

​Little Brown Skink

Scincella lateralis​

 
​​​​​​

Whiptails (Teiidae)​

PhotoCommon NameScientific NameState Status

Eastern Six-Lined Racer Adult photo by John White
Photo of Adult Eastern Six-Lined Race Runner courtesy of John White

​Eastern Six-lined Racerunner

Aspidoscelis sexlineatus sexlineatus​



Spiny Lizards (Phrynosomatidae)

PhotoCommon NameScientific NameState Status

Eastern Fence Lizard Adult, Photo by John WhitePhoto of Adult Eastern Fence Lizard courtesy of John White

​Eastern Fence Lizard

Sceloporous undulatus​