The Skinks are a diverse Family of lizard, ranging in size from 7.5 cm to 36 cm. They are characterised by their long, tapering bodies, with no pronounced neck, and small limbs. Some species are entirely limbless. Sinks move much like snakes, their legs acting as stabilisers. Most species favour a diet of insects and other invertebrates, although a few feed on vegetative matter. They are a cosmopolitan Family, found in deserts, mountains, grasslands and woodlands. Leaf litter is a favourite habitat, as is tussock; most species are terrestrial in nature.
This fellow is a Mountain Skink, found in Arizona and New Mexico. It is one of the American Plestidon lizards, where juveniles are characterised by their blue tails. The Mountain Skink sometimes retains this into adulthood. If attacked, the Skink can shed his tail, severing blood vessels, bone and muscle and leaving behind the twitching appendage to distract the predator. Although capable of regeneration, the new tail will contain cartilage rather than bone. This process - known as autonomy - is found in other reptile species as well.