Kirtland's Snake


Kirtland's Snake
Kirtland's snake
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Infraorder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Natricinae
Genus: Clonophis
Species: C. kirtlandii
Binomial name
Clonophis kirtlandii
(Kennicott, 1856)
Synonyms
  • Regina kirtlandii Kennicott, 1856
  • Ischnognathus kirtlandii - Jan, 1860
  • Natrix kirtlandii - Cope, 1900
  • Clonophis kirtlandi - H.M. Smith & Brodie, 1982

Kirtland's snake (Clonophis kirtlandii) is an endangered North American species of nonvenomous snake of the subfamily Natricinae, of the family Colubridae. The specific name, kirtlandii, is in honor of Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland, an American naturalist of the Nineteenth Century.

Contents

Common names

Cora Kennicott's snake, Kirtland's red snake, Kirtland's water snake, little red snake, Ohio Valley water snake, spread head.[1]

Description

It is a small, slender snake. Adults reach a length of 12-18 inches (30–46 cm). They are grayish brown with a series of large black spots and alternating smaller spots running down each side of the back.[2] The ventral scales are brick red with a prominent round black spot at each outer end.[3] It has 19 rows of keeled dorsal scales at midbody, and the anal plate is divided.[4]

Geographic range

Its main range is Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, southern Michigan and northern Kentucky, with a small isolated population in western Pennsylvania. The species is listed as endangered in Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania[5]; and threatened in Illinois and Ohio.

Diet

Kirtland's snake feeds on earthworms, slugs, minnows, salamanders, frogs and toads.[6]

Behavior

When alarmed it flattens its entire body to a remarkable thinness and becomes rigid.[7]

Reproduction

Kirtland's snake is ovoviviparous. Females give birth in August and September. Brood size varies from 4 to 22. Newborns are 13-17 cm (5-6¾ in.) long and average 1.4 gm in weight.[8]

References

  1. ^ Wright, A.H. and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca and London.
  2. ^ Boulenger,G.A.1893.Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History).London.
  3. ^ Conant, Roger.1975.A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America.Houghton Mifflin.Boston.
  4. ^ Smith, H.M. and E.D. Brodie, Jr. 1982. A Guide to Field Identification Reptiles of North America. Golden Press. New York.
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
  6. ^ Wright, A.H. and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca and London.
  7. ^ Schmidt,K.P. and D.D. Davis.1941.Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada.G.P. Putnam's Sons.New York.
  8. ^ Wright, A.H. and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca and London.