Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Animal Blogging

I've been calling these things broadhead skinks, Eumeces laticeps. I WAS WRONG. They are five-lined skinks, Eumeces fasciatus. I hang my head in shame.

In partial redemption, I finally got a picture of a juvenile sunning himself on the deck near the jasmine. The adults are shy enough, but the young are very shy, so they almost always bolt the second they see me. This one must be stupid.

You can tell it's a juvenile by its bright blue tail. This tail has for some odd reason led people to call them "scorpions" and believe that they are capable of delivering a poisonous sting. Sadly, it is not true.

Added in edit: I see from the close-up that his head is a bit reddish, meaning that it's probably a young male whose blue tail hasn't quite faded away yet. That would explain the stupidity.

Added in edit again: BigDumbChimp has really sweet pictures of an actual broadhead skink (right across the water in Mt. Pleasant, of all places). See, here's how you can tell: The male broadhead skink has this, like... broad head. The five-lined skink does not. That's what makes it clear that your skink is or is not a broadhead skink.

To paraphrase Francis Fukuyama when he appeared on the Daily Show a week or two ago: Some mistakes are so bad that you must have a PhD before you can make them.