Georgia Wildlife Web

Home Glossary Classification Conservation Status Regions of Georgia Fishes of Georgia Make a Donation

Species Description

Six-lined Racerunner

Cnemidophorus sexlineatus


Species Image

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Teiidae

Description

As its name would suggest, the Six-lined Racerunner has six yellow, white, pale gray, or pale blue stripes on the back and sides. The ground color ranges from brown, greenish brown, to almost black. There is a short dark stripe, bordered above by a light stripe on the sides of the tail. Adults range in size from 152 - 241 mm (6 - 9.5 in) in total length, with a head and body maximum of 75 mm (3 in). This is a medium-sized lizard. The belly has rows of enlarged scales which are much larger than those on the back and sides.

Life Cycle

Six-lined Racerunners breed from March to May and lay 2 - 5 eggs in May or June. The eggs are laid in small cavities in loose sand or soil, or rotting wood and hatch in about two months.

Natural History

Racerunners are found in dry, open situations with plenty of sunlight and loose soils, such as fields, pine-scrub xxxflatwoodsxxx, open roadsides, river xxxfloodplainsxxx, and the margins of open woodlands. This is the fastest lizard in the eastern United States and it relies on its speed to escape from predators. However, it is fed upon by many kinds of snakes, Eastern Glass Lizards, birds, and other small carnivores.

Range

Six-lined Racerunner Region Map The Racerunner occurs throughout Georgia but is very uncommon and local in the mountains of northern Georgia. Elsewhere it is found from Virginia west into Colorado and south to Texas and Florida.

Conservation Status

This is a common species in areas of sandy soil and open forests.

Similar Species

The Skinks have scales which are approximately all the same size on both the back and the belly, and the Fence Lizards have strongly keeled scales.