Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Lacertilia, Family Teiidae

Eastern Six-lined Racerunner
Aspidoscelis s. sexlineatus

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

Size

6 inches – 9 inches.

Appearance

  • As its name implies, this slender animal has six light-colored stripes starting at its head and continuing down along the tail.

  • The back color is brown to black. The back scales are small, resulting in a very smooth look.

  • The belly has large scales arranged in eight rows.

  • Its tail is long (compared to our other lizards, over half its total length).

  • The scales on the tail are keeled, giving it a rough feel and appearance.

  • Young racerunners resemble adults except that they have bright blue tails.

  • Close-up of Eastern six-lined racerunner photo by John White & Habitat photo by Rebecca Chalmers
    Close-up photo of Eastern Six-lined Racerunner courtesy of John White
    & Photo of Habitat courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers

    Habitats

    Prefers open sunny and dry areas with loose or sandy soils with grasses or shrubs for cover.

    How to Find

    These animals are very fast. May sometimes be found by lifting cover logs in sandy dry woodland habitats.

    Distribution in Maryland

    Found on the Coastal Plain of the Western Shore and the Potomac Valley counties west to Allegany.

    Eastern six-lined racerunner Maryland Distribution Map

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    Maryland Amphibian
    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    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.