- Small, cylindrical lizard with a long tail.
Bony scales (cycloid) with middle row of scales on ventral surface of tail are wider than others.
Females tend to be larger than males.
- Dorsal ground color varies with age and sex: juveniles are deep black with bright blue tails and adults are brown or olive brown.
Dorsal pattern, if present, consists of five light stripes down the length of the back and onto the tail.
Males tend to lose their markings with age and may have bluish tail.
Males have red coloration on head and wide jaws.
Plestiodon laticeps is one of the largest skink species in Texas, measuring 16-32 cm (6.5-12.75 in) as adults.
In North America, Plestiodon laticeps has a broad range from the East Coast west to Kansas and from the Ohio Valley region to the Gulf Coast.
Plestiodon laticeps is a diurnal skink that forages for insects, insect larvae, spiders, and small vertebrates in trees and on rotting trees. This species is adept at climbing.
Breeding occurs in the spring. Females lay up to 16 eggs in rotting wood or under a rock where female brooding (nest guarding) is exhibited. Hatchlings appear in early summer.
Plestiodon laticeps is an arboreal skink is seen in urban areas, but is more commonly seen in damp, wooded areas with leaf litter and decaying logs.
The broad-headed skink is not a protected species in Texas and can be legally collected with a hunting license.
In Texas, Plestiodon laticeps is found in the eastern third of the state.
The North American skinks (north of Mexico) previously placed in the genus Eumeces are now restricted to the genus Plestiodon (Brandley et al. 2005, Systematic Biology 54:373-390).