Cedar Key mole skink

Eumeces egregius insularis

Overall vulnerability:

This species was not assessed for vulnerability

Conservation status:

Species of Greatest Conservation Need

General Information

This small brown and orange skink has the smallest distribution of any Florida lizard. The Cedar Key mole skink is a subspecies endemic to only seven tiny islands in the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key. The skink is thought to have caught a ride to the islands on drifting vegetation or to be the remnants of an ancient population that became isolated once the islands disconnected from the mainland as water levels rose. The Cedar Key mole skink relies on a diet of small insects and arthropods on the islands it inhabits.

Habitat Requirements

The Cedar Key mole skink inhabits the shoreline on the islands it has colonized, preferring to seek shelter under sand and tidal debris.


Habitat area:

  • 283 hectares within Florida (modeled)
  • 75 hectares (26%) is located on public lands

Habitat impacted by up to 3 meters sea level rise:

58%1 meter91%3 meters9%not impacted

Climate Impacts

As an island endemic subspecies, the Cedar Key mole skink is highly vulnerable to sea level rise. The lizard’s small population and very narrow distribution will make it a challenge for the Cedar Key mole skink to adapt to increasingly harsh island conditions. Sea level rise, coastal erosion and increasingly strong or frequent storm events are likely to be a concern. Like many island subspecies in Florida, assisted relocation to the mainland is not an option if the goal is to preserve the genetic integrity of the Cedar Key subspecies of mole skink.

More information about general climate impacts to species in Florida.

Adaptation Strategies

  • Given the risk of genetic swamping if the Cedar Key mole skink begins to overlap with other subspecies, assisted migration to a more isolated area or developing a captive breeding population may be the best adaptation strategy for this species if sea level rise poses too great a threat to the island populations.

More information about adaptation strategies.

Additional Resources