North Florida Ecological Services Office
Southeast Region

Sand and Bluetail Mole Skink

Sand skinks (Neoseps reynoldsi) and bluetail mole skinks (Eumeces egregius lividus) are found in interior peninsular Florida. Both species are most commonly associated with habitat dominated by xeric vegetation such as oak-dominated scrub, turkey oak barrens, high pine, and xeric hammocks. Skinks typically occur in habitats that contain a mosaic of open sandy patches interspersed with forbs, shrubs. and trees. Although sand skink tracks are most typically observed in open sandy areas, both species utilize a variety of other micro-habitats within xeric vegetative communities. Areas containing extensive rooted vegetation within this matrix may preclude sand skink movement and are less likely to be used by skinks. They appear to be most abundant in the ecotone between areas with abundant leaf litter and vegetative cover and adjacent open sands. Suitable bluetail mole skink habitat is restricted to xeric uplands within the Lake Wales Ridge in Highlands, Osceola, and Polk counties. Sand skink habitat occurs within the Lake Wales Ridge but is also found on the Winter Haven Ridge in Polk County and the Mount Dora Ridge in Lake. Marion, Orange, and Putnam counties.

Due to their small size and digging and burrowing habits, both species are difficult to detect.

Photo of a Sand Skink

Photo Caption: Sand Skink. Credit: Erin Gawera, USFWS

Photo of Blue-tailed Mole Skink

Photo Caption: Bluetail Mole Skink Credit: USFWS

 

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Last updated: September 12, 2014