This is one of the smallest reptiles in North America, with a length of 3 - 5.5 inches (7.5 - 14.5 cm). Its back is typically a coppery brown color with a white or yellow underside, and like most skinks has an elongated body and short legs. Transparent disks in the lower eyelids allow it to see with its eyes closed (Beane 2006, Palmer et al. 1995).
This is a fossorial species, spending the majority of its time buried in leaf litter on the forest floor. Unlike other skinks, it seldom climbs trees. Its usual means of locomotion is to wriggle through the leaf litter with undulating movements (Lizards of Georgia). It may dive under water when pursued, although normally avoids wet areas. It is largely diurnal, but may be active at night as well. It hibernates during the coldest months, but may be active in almost any month of the year in North Carolina (Palmer et al. 1995). As befits a tiny lizard, the home range of an individual may be as small as 20 square meters (Natureserve). The diet of the Ground Skink consists of small insects, spiders, and other arthropoda, such as isopods. Ground Skinks are, in turn, preyed upon by snakes such as the Eastern Racer, Ringneck Snake, and Scarlet Kingsnake. Predatory birds of woodland habitats, such as the Barred Owl and the Red-shouldered Hawk, also feed upon Ground Skinks. Even the Eastern Bluebird has been observed feeding on this tiny lizard (Palmer et al. 1995, Beane 2006).
The Ground Skink lays small clutches of 1-6 (usually 2-3) eggs in moist soil, rotting logs, or under rocks. Eggs are laid during the summer, March through August in the Southern United States. There may be more than one clutch per year. In contrast to Eumeces species, the female Ground Skink does not guard its eggs (Beane 2006). Eggs hatch in one to two months, and young are sexually mature at one year of age.
Selection of available post-fire substrate by the ground skink, Scincella lateralis (squamata: scincidae).(Report)
Aug 01, 2009; Abstract.-Burning of the forest floor alters the structural components that constitute the organic substrate. Many small animal...
The ground skink, Scincella lateralis, an unusual host for phoretic deutonymphs of a uropodine mite, Fuscuropoda marginata, with a review of analogous mite-host interactions.
Feb 01, 2003; AbstractPhoretic deutonymphs of the uropodine mite Fuscuropoda marginata (Koch) that usually attach to dung beetle hosts were...