From 1996–1998 I estimated the density of prairie skinks (Eumeces septentrionalis) in old fields and evaluated the influence of habitat characteristics on density. I estimated prairie skink density from a trapping grid using a mark-recapture method in seven old fields. For each field I estimated arthropod density, percent plant cover and recorded field age and if the field had been burned in the last 5 y. Arthropod density was highly variable among years and fields. Percent plant cover did not explain this variation, as it varied little among fields and years. Prairie skink density ranged from 58–206 adults per ha among fields and was significantly correlated with field age, arthropod abundance and burn treatment. Because of the small number of replicated sampling units, however, I was unable to determine the independent effects of each factor. Prairie skink density increased with successional age but the mechanisms responsible for this pattern remain unclear.
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Vol. 146 • No. 1