Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Lacertilia

6 native species and 1 introduced/naturalized​

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 seven 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), 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 three 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 six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata), the spiny lizards (Family Phrynosomatidae) are represented by the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporous undulatus), and the geckos (Family Gekkonidae) are represented by the introduced Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus).

Lizard Anatomy​

Lizard FamilyNumber of Species in Maryland
Skink (Scincidae)4
Whiptails (Teiidae)1
Spiny Lizards (Phrynosomatidae)1
Geckos (Gekkonidae)1

Skink (Scincidae)

Broad-headed Skink
(Plestiodon laticeps)
Photo courtesy of John White.
Common Five-lined Skink
(Plestiodon fasciatus)
Photo courtesy of John White.

Coal Skink
(Plestiodon anthracinus)
Former name: Northern Coal Skink
Photo courtesy of Bill Hubick.

Little Brown Skink
(Scincella lateralis)
Photo courtesy of John Kazyak.

Whiptails (Teiidae)​

Six-lined Racerunner
(Aspidoscelis sexlineata)
Former name: Eastern Six-lined Racerunner
Photo courtesy of John White.

Spiny Lizards (Phrynosomatidae)

​Eastern Fence Lizard
(Sceloporous undulatus​)
Photo courtesy of John White.

Geckos (Gekkonidae)

​Mediterranean Gecko
(Hemidactylus turcicus)
Photo courtesy of Jim Brighton.