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Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory.

Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
608-266-4340

Prairie Skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis)


Overview

Overview

Prairie skinks (Plestiodon septentrionalis), a Special Concern species in Wisconsin, prefer sandy soils in bracken grasslands or Pine Barrens. They are also found on open sandy banks along rivers and streams. Their range in Wisconsin is restricted to a small number of counties in the northwestern portion of the state, but are more commonly found west of Wisconsin in the Great Plains. They are active from May through September with breeding taking place soon after emerging from their communal overwintering sites. During the breeding season, males exhibit bright orange chins, lips, and throats. Prairie skinks maintain burrow systems enabling them to escape from predators that include hawks and owls, ground squirrels, raccoons, and snakes. In the fall, with the onset of cold temperatures, prairie skinks will lengthen their burrows and overwinter there. A prairie skink's diet is made up of numerous terrestrial insects such as spiders, crickets, beetles, and grasshoppers.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Prairie Skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.


Documented locations of Plestiodon septentrionalis in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/H
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY
WWAP SGCN

Species guidance


A guidance document is not available at this time. Use the information from the other tabs and contact local biologists, as needed, to develop management and avoidance strategies.

Photos/Video

Photos


Prairie Skink

The prairie skink inhabits barrens complexes and sparsely timbered oak woodlands in northwestern Wisconsin.

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Prairie Skink

Juvenile Northern Prairie Skink

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Prairie Skink

Northern Prairie Skink

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Prairie Skink

Northern Prairie Skink

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Prairie Skink

Northern Prairie Skink

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Prairie Skink

Northern Prairie Skink

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Prairie Skink

Northern Prairie Skink

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Prairie Skink

Northern Prairie Skink

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.


Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Prairie Skink. Only natural communities for which Prairie Skink is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Prairie Skink. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Prairie Skink occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.


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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.


* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, May 04, 2017