During my recent wildlife photography trip to the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas, I had an incredible stroke of luck. I was able to witness and capture on camera a rare event: the mating ritual of a pair of Five-lined Skinks. This was a first-time experience for me, and I was filled with excitement to document this captivating behavior.
While approaching one of my storage buildings, I noticed some movement on the steps. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to investigate further. To my astonishment, I discovered a male and female Five-lined Skink engaged in their elaborate mating ritual. The male was securely perched on top of the female, tightly clasping her with his strong legs.
Background on Five-lined Skinks:
Five-lined Skinks are a relatively common species found in various parts of the eastern United States. However, witnessing their mating behavior in the wild is a rare occurrence.
During the mating process, the male Five-lined Skink clings to the female using his legs and positions himself on her back. Using his tail, he gently lifts the female’s tail, aligning his reproductive organ (cloaca) with hers. This phase can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, as they engage in their intricate courtship.
An Interesting Encounter:
As I captured the mesmerizing images of the Five-lined Skinks mating, I noticed an unexpected visitor—a tick attached near the male’s front leg. Ticks are common parasites found on many species of wildlife. However, observing one so close to this particular male Skink was a stark reminder of the numerous challenges wild animals face in their daily lives.
Photographing the mating pair of Five-lined Skinks was an exhilarating experience for me. It provided a unique opportunity to witness and document a captivating behavior in the natural world. I hope that by sharing my photographs, I can raise awareness about the beauty and complexity of these reptiles. Additionally, it is essential to recognize the difficulties they encounter in their natural habitat. Let us cherish and protect these magnificent creatures as we celebrate their existence in the wild.
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
- Lens: Canon EF100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
- Location: Arkansas
- Date and Time Taken: May 7, 2015 (04:58 P. M.)
- Exposure Mode: AV
- Aperture: f8
- Shutter speed: 1/800
- ISO: 640
- Focal Length: 400 mm