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Title: Occurrences of the western skink (Eumeces skiltonianus) in grasslands of western Montana

Author: Ortega, Yvette K.; Pearson, Dean E.;

Date: 2001

Source: Northwestern Naturalist. 82(3): 125‐126.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


The western skink (Eumeces skiltonianus) was recently classified as a Montana Species of Special Concern due to its restricted range in the state (D. P. Hendricks, Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT, pers. comm.). Records of the western skink in Montana are limited to a few, scattered locations on the western edge of the state (Tanner 1988; Reichel and Flath 1995). Skinks have been documented in the Bitterroot Valley in Ravalli County (Rodgers and Jellison 1942) and on the Kootenai National Forest in Lincoln County (Werner and others 1998). In addition, there have been unconfirmed reports of their presence on islands of Flathead Lake in Lake County (Franz 1971), and Werner and others (1998) discuss unconfirmed records from the Flathead Indian Reservation within Lake and Missoula counties. We caught 65 skinks in pitfall traps at 8 grassland sites within Missoula, Mineral, and Ravalli counties in west-central Montana during a study of arthropod and small mammal communities. Except for 2 individuals, skinks died in traps and were collected, and species identification was confirmed in the lab (P. S. Corn, US Geological Survey, Missoula, MT, pers. comm.). These records represent a significant addition to information on the western skink in Montana, confirming their presence in Missoula County, documenting their occurrence in Mineral County, adding locations to Ravalli County, and providing evidence of local abundance within some grasslands.

Keywords: Eumeces skiltonianus, western skink, Montana, Lolo National Forest, Calf Creek Wildlife Management Area, distribution, records

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Ortega, Yvette K.; Pearson, Dean E. 2001. Occurrences of the western skink (Eumeces skiltonianus) in grasslands of western Montana. Northwestern Naturalist. 82(3): 125‐126.


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