Plestiodon septentrionalis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Plestiodon septentrionalis Baird, 1858
Common Name(s):
English Northern Prairie Skink, Prairie Skink
Eumeces septentrionalis (Baird, 1858)
Taxonomic Notes: MtDNA data suggest that colonization of P. septentrionalis into previously glaciated areas was from a single source with restricted gene flow (Fuerst and Austin 2004). Parsimony and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses showed reciprocal monophyly between the allopatric northern (P. s. septentrionalis) and southern (P. s. obtusirostris) subspecies (Fuerst and Austin 2004). These results, combined with the morphological differences found in previous studies (Taylor 1935), suggest that these allopatric populations are on separate evolutionary trajectories (Fuerst and Austin 2004). Further sampling of southern populations is needed to elucidate the taxonomic status of the various populations.

In a phylogenetic analysis of Eumeces based on morphology, Griffith et al. (2000) proposed splitting Eumeces into multiple genera, based on the apparent paraphyly of Eumeces. Smith (2005) and Brandley et al. (2005) formally proposed that all North American species (north of Mexico) be placed in the genus Plestiodon. This was accepted by Crother (2008) and Collins and Taggart (2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to North America, occurring widely in the prairies of the United States, extending into southern Canada. Its range extends from southern Manitoba, Minnesota, and northwestern Wisconsin south through the eastern Dakotas, Iowa, eastern Nebraska, Kansas and adjacent northwestern Missouri (Figg 1993), Oklahoma, and western Arkansas to coastal Texas and northwestern Louisiana (Conant and Collins 1991). Populations at the northern end of the range in southwestern Manitoba apparently are separated from the closest occurrences in Minnesota and North Dakota by 193 km and 280 km, respectively (Bredin, 1989 COSEWIC report). Toal and Reiserer (1992, Herpetoogical Review 23: 89) reported subspecies obtusirostris from southwestern Missouri.
Countries occurrence:
Canada; United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This skink is represented by hundreds of occurrences or subpopulations. It is secretive and undoubtedly occurs in significantly more localities than current records indicate. The total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 10,000, and is probably much higher. This species is secretive and more numerous than visual observations indicate. Some local populations have probably been eliminated or reduced, but no major decline has been reported. Population trends are not documented but probably relatively stable. See Bredin (1989 COSEWIC report) for information on status in Canada (no evidence of decline).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitat includes open sandy areas of pine barrens and bracken grassland, grassy dunes, sandy banks of creeks and rivers and along roadsides, open grass-covered rocky hillsides near streams, and forest edges and woodland; this semi-fossorial lizard is often under ground cover. Eggs are laid in shallow nests dug in loose moist soil under logs, boards, rocks, or other objects (see Frese 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Presumably some habitat has been lost or degraded as a result of large-scale intensive cultivation, but overall no major widespread threats to remaining populations have been identified.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in many protected areas.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Plestiodon septentrionalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T64239A12757599. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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