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Plestiodon septentrionalis BAIRD, 1858

IUCN Red List - Plestiodon septentrionalis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesPlestiodon septentrionalis obtusirostris (BOCOURT 1879)
Plestiodon septentrionalis septentrionalis (BAIRD 1858) 
Common NamesE: Northern Prairie Skink
obtusirostris: Southern Prairie Skink 
SynonymPlestiodon septentrionalis BAIRD 1858: 256
Eumeces septentrionalis — TAYLOR 1936: 394
Eumeces septentrionalis septentrionalis — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 134
Eumeces septentrionalis — GRIFFITH, NGO & MURPHY 2000
Plestiodon septentrionalis — SCHMITZ et al. 2004
Plestiodon septentrionalis septentrionalis — CROTHER et al. 2012

Plestiodon septentrionalis obtusirostris (BOCOURT 1879: 423)
Eumeces obtusirostris BOCOURT 1879: 423
Eumeces pachyurus COPE 1880: 19 (fide TAYLOR 1936: 405)
Eumeces pachyurus — STRECKER 1910
Eumeces septentrionalis obtusirostris — STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917: 70
Eumeces septentrionalis obtusirostris — TAYLOR 1936: 405
Eumeces septentrionalis obtusirostris — SMITH 1946
Eumeces septentrionalis pallidus SMITH & SLATER 1949
Eumeces septentrionalis obtusirostris — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 134
Eumeces septentrionalis obtusirostris — CROTHER 2000
Eumeces septentrionalis obtusirostris — DIXON 2000
Plestiodon obtusirostris — SCHMITZ et al. 2004
Plestiodon obtusirostris obtusirostris — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009
Plestiodon obtusirostris pallidus — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009
Plestiodon septentrionalis pallidus — CROTHER et al. 2012
Plestiodon septentrionalis obtusirostris — CROTHER et al. 2012
Plestiodon septentrionalis obtusirostris — LIEB 2023 
Distributionseptentrionalis: USA (Wisconsin, Minnesota, SE North Dakota, E South Dakota, E Nebraska, C/E Kansas, Oklahoma, E Texas, Iowa), Canada (S Manitoba)

pallidus: USA (Texas); Terra typica: USA: Palo Pinto, Palo Pinto, County, Texas;

obtusirostris: USA (E Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma); Type locality. Originally, “Texas” with no specific locality. The locality information accompany- ing the relocated holotype (see Remarks) indicates it originated from Dallas in Dallas County, Texas.

septentrionalis: USA (Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma); Type locality: Minnesota and Nebraska.  
TypesLectotype: USNM 3156 (specimen of the three under this number with SVL 70mm), Fort Ripley, Minnesota, collected J.F. Head. Designation by Taylor (1936).
Holotype: ZMB 8689, Dallas, Texas, USA, collected Boll. [obtusirostris]
Holotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 1961, P. Harter; May 1, 1946 [pallidus]
Holotype: lost, fide Strecker 1910: 119 [pachyurus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “A medium-sized species (maximum size, about 75 millimeters) with (normally) two postmentals and no postnasal; frontonasal small, frequently fused with adjoining scales or absent, not in contact with the anterior loreal; limbs relatively short, not overlapping when adpressed in adult specimens; dorsolateral white line arising on the posterior part of the supraocular or superciliary region, and continuing some distance onl tail; lateral white line arising on snout, passing back above ear to some distance on tail; these lines bordered above and below by dark brown, and the entire space between them of the same color: ground color of back usually forming three light-brown lines, usually bordered by darker brown lines.” (Taylor 1936) 
CommentSubspecies: Plestiodon septentrionalis pallidus has been treated as a subspecies of P. obtusirostris. However, Lieb 2023 treated it as a synonym of septentrionalis. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an adjective in the nominative case derived from the Latin for ‘northern’, referring to the distribution of this species. 
  • Anderson, P. 1950. A Record for the Northern Prairie skink, Eumeces septentrionalis septentrionalis (Baird) in Missouri Herpetologica 6 (2): 53. - get paper here
  • Baird, S.F. 1859. Description of new genera and species of North American lizards in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 10: 253-256 [1858] - get paper here
  • Bartlett, R. D. & Bartlett, P. 1999. A Field Guide to Texas Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas, 331 pp.
  • Blackburn, D.G. 1993. STANDARDIZED CRITERIA FOR THE RECOGNITION OF REPRODUCTIVE MODES IN SQUAMATE REPTILES. Herpetologica 49 (1): 118-132 - get paper here
  • Blanchard, Frank N. 1923. The amphibians and reptiles of Dickinson County, Iowa. Iowa Studies in Natural History 10 (2): 19-26
  • Bocourt, M. F. 1879. Etudes sur les reptiles, p. i-xiv, 1-1012. In Recherches Zoologiques pour servir a l'Histoire de Ia Faune de l'Amérique Centrale et du Mexique. Mission Scientifique au Mexique et dans l'Amérique Centrale, Recherches zoologiques. Part 2, sect. 1; In A Imprimerie Impériale, Paris [3, Pt. 6], pp. 360–440. - get paper here
  • BRANDLEY, MATTHEW C.; OTA, HIDETOSHI; HIKIDA, TSUTOMU; NIETO MONTES DE OCA, ADRIAN; FERIA-ORTIZ, MANUEL; GUO, XIANGUANG; WANG, YUEZHAO 2012. The phylogenetic systematics of blue-tailed skinks (Plestiodon) and the family Scincidae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 165 (1): 163-189 - get paper here
  • Buck, M.J., Peterson, B.C. & Geluso, K. 2018. Geographic Distribution: Plestiodon septentrionalis (Prairie Skink). Herpetological Review 49 (1): 74. - get paper here
  • Casper, Gary S. 2015. New county distribution records for amphibians and reptiles in Wisconsin. Herpetological Review 46 (4): 582-586 - get paper here
  • Clarke, Robert 1955. Observations on Eumeces s. septentrionalis in Kansas. Herpetologica 11 (3): 161-164 - get paper here
  • Cochran, Philip A. 2008. Foraging by Northern Prairie Skinks and Five-lined Skinks May Include Simultaneous Search and Prey Handling. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25): 19-20 - get paper here
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Cope, E.D. 1880. On the zoological position of Texas. Bull. US Natl. Mus., No. 17: 1-51 - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Danielsen, Allison Krause; Pamela Rutherford, and Nicola Koper 2014. The Importance of Vegetation Structure and Artificial Cover for Prairie Skinks (Plestiodon septentrionalis) on Exurban Land. Journal of Herpetology Mar 2014, Vol. 48, No. 1: 67-73. - get paper here
  • DAVIS, D. R., AND D. R. SKADSEN 2020. Distributional Records of Amphibians and Reptiles from the Prairie Coteau, South Dakota, USA. Herpetological Review 51: 89-90
  • Davis, Drew R., Farkas, Jillian K., Johannsen, Rachel E., Leonard, Kalie M. and Kerby, Jacob L. 2017. Distributional records of amphibians and reptiles from South Dakota, USA. Herpetological Review 48 (1): 133-137 - get paper here
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Force, Edith R. 1928. A Preliminary Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles of Tulsa County. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 8: - get paper here
  • Fuerst, G.S. & C.C. Austin 2004. Population Genetic Structure of the Prairie Skink (Eumeces septentrionalis): Nested Clade Analysis of Post Pleistocene Populations Journal of Herpetology 38 (2): 257-268. - get paper here
  • Gibbons, Whit; Judy Greene, and Tony Mills 2009. LIZARDS AND CROCODILIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST. University of Georgia Press, 240 pp.
  • Griffith, H., A. Ngo & R. W. Murphy 2000. A cladistic evaluation of the cosmopolitan genus Eumeces Wiegmann (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 7 (1): 1-16 - get paper here
  • Kingman, R. H. 1932. A comparative study of the skull in the genus Eumeces of the family Scincidae. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 20 (15): 273-295 - get paper here
  • Lieb, C. S. 2023. Catalog 3: Type Specimens, Type Localities, Synonymies, and Authors/Collectors of Amphibians and Reptiles Described from Texas. In: D.J. Schmidly et al. (eds.) TAXONOMIC CATALOGS FOR THE RECENT TERRESTRIAL VERTEBRATES (SPECIES AND SUBSPECIES) DESCRIB Museum of Texas Tech University Special Publications 77: 213-378 - get paper here
  • Lynch, J.D. 1985. Annotated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nebraska. Nebraska Acad. of Sci., Lincoln, Trans. 13: 33-57.
  • Schmitz, Andreas; Patrick Mausfeld and Dirk Embert 2004. Molecular studies on the genus Eumeces Wiegmann, 1834: phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic implications. Hamadryad 28 (1-2): 73 – 89 - get paper here
  • Smith, H.M. & Slater, J.R. 1949. The southern races of Eumeces septentrionalis (Baird). Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 52: 438-448 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1946. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Comstock, Ithaca, NY, xxii + 557 pp.
  • Smith, Hobart M.;Leonard, Arthur B. 1934. Distributional records of reptiles and amphibians in Oklahoma. American Midland Naturalist 15: 190-196 - get paper here
  • Stejneger, L.H., and T. Barbour 1917. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. 4: i-iv, 1-125 - get paper here
  • Strecker, J.K. 1910. Description of a new solitary spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus hurterii) from Texas, with other herpetological notes. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 23: 115-122 - get paper here
  • Taylor, E. H. 1936. A taxonomic study of the cosmopolitan lizards of the genus Eumeces with an account of the distribution and relationship of its species. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 23 (14): 1-643 [1935] - get paper here
  • VanDeWalle, Terry 2022. The Natural History of the Snakes and Lizards of Iowa. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, Iowa, 384 pp. ISBN: 978-1- 609388-37-9. [review in HR 54 (1): 151] - get paper here
  • Walley, H.D. 1963. The Northern Prairie Skink, Eumeces septentrionalis Septentrionalis, in Wisconsin and Illinois Herpetologica 18 (4): 281-283. - get paper here
  • Walley, Harlan Dean 1962. The northern prairie skink, Eumeces septentrionalis septentrionalis, in Wisconsin and Illinois. Herpetologica 18 (4): 281-283 - get paper here
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