prairie skink

(Plestiodon septentrionalis)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

prairie skink

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Stream banks, openings in pine barrens, mixed grass prairies, oak savannas, rock outcroppings. Sandy soil.

Lifespan

5 to 7 years

Size

5¼″ to 8¾″ long

   
    Photo by Bill Reynolds

Identification

This is a medium-sized, terrestrial lizard with a long tail. It is the most common skink in Minnesota.

Adults are 5¼″ to 8¾″ in total length including the tail. Females may be larger than males. The body is shiny, tan or brown on the back, dark brown to almost black on the sides, with alternating dark and light stripes. There are three wide, pale stripes on the back that do not extend onto the head, and two very narrow white stripes on each side that do extend onto the head. The head is otherwise unmarked. The chin and throat are yellowish or pale yellow. The belly is gray to tan and unmarked. The legs are short, dark brown above, and pale below.

The lips, chin, and throat of breeding males is bright orange during the breeding season. Juveniles have a bright blue tail that fades as the skink matures.

 
Similar
Species

Five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) dorsal stripe form splits to form a "Y" shape on the top of the head. Juveniles and females have a blue or bluish-gray tail.


Food

Grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, caterpillars, and other insects; also spiders, snails and and other small arthropods.

 
Life Cycle

Adults emerge from hibernation in April. Juveniles emerge 3 to 4 weeks after adults. Breeding occurs in the spring. Gestation lasts about 40 days. Sometime in June the female lays 4 to 18 eggs, usually 8 to 10, in a shallow nest under a surface cover. The eggs hatch after about 30 days.

In September each skink creates a burrow up to 26 deep and begins hibernating. They do not hibernate in groups.

Northern prairie skinks reach sexual maturity in their third year. They live 5 to 7 years, possibly more.

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 11, 14, 24, 29, 72, 74.


Comments

Taxonomy
This species was formerly named Eumeces septentrionalis. In 2008, the genus was split and most species were assigned to new genera. Most print sources and a few online sources, including ITIS37, still refer to the species by its former name.


Taxonomy

Order:

Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards, and snakes)

 

Suborder:

Lacertilia (lizards)

 

Infraorder:

Scincomorpha (skinks, wall lizards, and relatives)

 

Family:

Scincidae (skinks)

 

Subfamily:

Scincinae

 
Subordinate Taxa

northern prairie skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis septentrionalis)

southern prairie skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis obtusirostris)

 
Synonyms

Eumeces septentrionalis

 
Common
Names

prairie skink


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Mark DeBeer


  prairie skink    

Darren


  prairie skink    

Bill Reynolds


  prairie skink    

       
       

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Other Videos

 
  Northern Prairie Skink in Minnesota Eumeces septentrionalis
eldavojohn
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 18, 2011

Eumeces septentrionalis Growing up, these things were all over our backyard. I took some video last time I was home. These guys are insanely fast. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_Skink

 
     
  Iowa Northern Prairie Skink
digitaldubuque
 
   
 
About

Published on Dec 16, 2012

The video was produced for the Mines of Spain exhibit area. It was taken with a Canon 7D and 100mm 2.8 macro lens.

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this reptile.

Mark DeBeer
7/17/2015

Location: Russell, MN Lyon County

We live on an acreage that has quite a bit of loam soil but there is a gravel pit and wetland area nearby.

prairie skink


Darren
5/23/2014

Location: St. Cloud, MN

This evening I rolled over a large rock and saw it curled up.

prairie skink


Mindy
7/4/2015

Location: Elkton, sd


Zeke
6/19/2015

Location: Lakeland, MN


Chris Savageau
7/18/2010

Location: glyndon


Bill Reynolds
2010

Location: Pennington Co Minnesota

Found in uncut field

prairie skink


     
     
 

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