Carphophis

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Superfamilia: Colubroidea
Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Xenodontinae
Genus: Carphophis
Species: C. amoenus - C. vermis

Name

Carphophis Gervais, 1843

Carphophis (common name worm snakes) is a genus of small colubrid snakes. The genus consists of two species, which are divided into the eastern and western types. They are found only in the eastern half of the United States.

Physical description

Worm snakes are small (35 cm) snakes. They are usually a dark brown in color, with a lighter colored, pink or orange underside. They are easily mistaken for other similar species, such as the earth snakes, Virginia sp. and brown snakes, Storeria sp. They have a narrow head, and small eyes, and a sharp tail tip. They are not a poisonous type of snake.

Behavior

Worm snakes are fossorial snakes, and spend the vast majority of their time buried in loose, rocky soil, or under forest leaf litter. They are abundant within their range, but rarely seen due to their secretive nature. Little is known about their mating habits, but breeding likely occurs in the early spring and eggs are laid in the early summer. Clutch size is normally 2-5 eggs and hatching takes place in August or September. Hatchlings range in size from 7 to 12 cm. Worm snake diet consists almost entirely of earthworms but they will also consume other soft bodied insects. They are a common food source for ophiophagus snake species, such as the coral snake.

Species and subspecies

* Carphophis amoenus
o Eastern Worm Snake, Carphophis amoenus amoenus (Say, 1825)
o Midwestern Worm Snake, Carphophis amoenus helenae (Kennicott, 1859)
* Western Worm Snake, Carphophis vermis (Kennicott, 1859)

Geographic distribution

* C. amoenus - Arkansas, eastern Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, northern Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, southern Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, southeastern New York, and Connecticut.
* C. vermis - southern Iowa, southeastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, western Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, eastern Oklahoma, and northeastern Texas with isolated records from southwestern Wisconsin, and southeastern Arkansas.

References

* Genus Carphophis at The Reptile Database

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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