Six-lined Racerunner, Aspidoscelis sexlineata
Occurs across TN except for the northern Cumberland Plateau, upper East TN, extreme northwest TN, and parts of the Highland Rim and Central Basin. Of the 3 recognized subspecies, only Eastern Six-lined Racerunner (A. s. sexlineata) occurs in TN.
Description: A long, slender, fast-moving lizard (6.0 to 9.5 inches in length) with 6 light stripes, extending from the head down to the tail, on a dark brown or black background color. Stripes can be yellow, white, gray, or pale blue. Bellies are white to salmon-pink for females and bluish for males. Tail is gray or brown and has a rough feel. Adult males have a broader head than females; females have a heavier body.
Similar Species: Skinks, in general, have smooth and shiny scales.
Habitat: Prefers open areas with loose sand or soil and sparse vegetation. Typical habitats include fields, glades, river floodplains, railroad tracks, edge of gravel roads, and rocky, south-facing hillsides.
Diet: A wide variety of invertebrates.
Breeding information: Courtship and breeding occur in spring and summer when males become bluer. Females lay 1-6 eggs in shallow sand or soil and do not defend them. Hatching occurs in about 60 days with the young resembling the adults, except they have pale blue tails and distinct yellow stripes.
Status in Tennessee: Scattered populations across TN. Fairly well adapted to human disturbed areas such as rock quarries, rip-rap, and roadside edges.
- Other names for the Six-lined Racerunner include “field-streaks” and “sandlappers”.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Open, sandy fields or roadsides in southeast or southwest TN.