Meet the Critters! The Six-lined Racerunner

Meet the six-lined racerunner!  An abundant inhabitant of the United States, the six-lined racerunner is known for its lightning quick speed – they’ve been clocked at 18 mph!  Found mostly in warm, dry areas such as open fields or sparse woods, this lizard darts around at ground level, rarely climbing.

Six-lined racerunners eat a wide variety of invertebrates, from crickets to flies to spiders.  They eat so many insects that in several states they  are considered an important pest control species.  The six-lined racerunner is on the menu for many species, including various snakes, raptors, and mammals.  Like most lizards, racerunners can lose their tail in order to escape from a predator.  This is just one of the racerunner’s evasive actions though, if their sheer speed can’t get them away from a predator, they will dash into a tiny crevice or burrow where the predator can’t follow.

You can easily identify the six-lined racerunner by its six stripes.  Males have showier colors, featuring greens and blues on their throat scales.  Females are more inconspicuous with white throat scales, and juveniles can be identified by their blue tails.

About Jean Aycock

Jean Aycock is an Educator at Ft. Hays State University’s Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) at Cheyenne Bottoms. Jean received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry - Wildlife Management from Mississippi State University, and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arkansas-Monticello, studying shorebird migration. Jean is a native of southeast Missouri, and an avid birder, hiker, and crafter.

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