The name "Plestiodon" comes from Greek, meaning "folded tooth," referring to the shape of their teeth

These reptiles are known for their sleek, shiny bodies and agile movements. These skinks are medium-sized, cold-blooded lizards found primarily in North America and Asia. They have elongated, slender bodies covered in smooth, shiny scales that give them a sleek appearance. Many species, such as the five-lined skink, exhibit bright, vibrant colors, especially in juveniles. These young skinks often have striking blue tails, which they use to distract predators.

As they mature, the colors of Plestiodon skinks tend to become more subdued, with adults often displaying brown, gray, or olive tones. The broad-headed skink, for example, develops a more robust head and loses the bright juvenile coloration as it ages.

Plestiodon skinks are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, rocky areas, and even urban environments. They prefer locations with plenty of cover, such as leaf litter, fallen logs, and rocks, where they can hide from predators and hunt for food.

These skinks are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. They are known for their agility and speed, which help them escape from predators and catch prey. When threatened, skinks can drop their tails as a defense mechanism. The detached tail wriggles and distracts the predator, allowing the skink to escape. The tail eventually regenerates, though it may not be as long or colorful as the original.

Plestiodon skinks are primarily insectivorous, meaning they feed on insects and other small invertebrates. Their diet includes crickets, beetles, spiders, and caterpillars. Some larger species, like the broad-headed skink, may also eat small vertebrates, such as other lizards and rodents. Skinks have a keen sense of sight and smell, which they use to locate and capture prey.