Storeria occipitomaculata


Storeria occipitomaculata
Scientific classification  
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Storeria
S. occipitomaculata
Binomial name
Storeria occipitomaculata
(Storer, 1839)
  • Coluber occipito-maculatus
    Storer, 1839
  • Tropidonotus occipito-maculatus
    Holbrook, 1842
  • Storeria occipitomaculata
    Baird & Girard, 1853
  • Ischnognathus occipitomaculatus
    Günther, 1858
  • Storeria occipitomaculata
    Yarrow, 1883

Storeria occipitomaculata, commonly known as the redbelly snake or the red-bellied snake, is a species of harmless snake in the family Colubridae. The species is native to North America (Canada and the United States).[1][2]

Description edit

S. occipitomaculata is a small woodland species that usually measures 4–10 in (10–25 cm) in total length (including tail). Its dorsal color ranges from orange to gray, black, or brown. It can be distinguished from other species by its bright red or orange underbelly. Many individuals have a light brown ring behind the head.[3]

Habitat edit

S. occipitomaculata prefers warmer habitats, and in the more northern limits of its range will inhabit abandoned ant mounds. These mounds absorb solar radiation and are insulated which allows for a longer active season. This species, with large eyes and a kinetic skull, is not able to burrow on its own effectively, and abandoned ant mounds allow it access to a warm retreat.[4] Individuals of this species can be found under logs and leafy debris due to its secretive nature.[3]

Reproduction edit

Studies of the redbelly snake have determined that it reproduces annually, and females have been found to be gravid during spring and early summer.[5] While body size varies throughout the redbelly snake's geographic range, the average clutch size tends to remain the same with an average of 7–9 eggs per clutch.[4] The redbelly snake begins mating at around two years of age and must be a minimum of 22 centimetres (8.7 in) in order to reach sexual maturity.[5]

Diet edit

The red-bellied snake, like other members of its genus, preys primarily on slugs.[4][6] Its teeth are slender and distally curved to better catch slimy prey.[6]

Behavior edit

S. occipitomaculata exhibits a distinctive behavior of lip-curling.[6] The purposes of this behavior are still being studied, but are hypothesized to aid in prey capture and handling, and in predator deterrence.[6] The redbelly snake has also exhibited death-feigning behavior to possible predators, in which it laterally compresses parts of its body to mimic the appearance of injuries.[7] It can also mock the posture of venomous snakes by flattening its body, raising its head, and flexing its neck.[7]

Etymology edit

The specific name, occipitomaculata, is derived from the Latin words occiput which means "the back part of the head" and macula meaning "spot".[8] The generic name, Storeria, honors zoologist David Humphreys Storer. [9]

Subspecies edit

Three subspecies, including the nominotypical subspecies, are recognized as being valid:[2]

Nota bene: A trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Storeria.

References edit

  1. ^ a b Hammerson, G.A. (2007). "Storeria occipitomaculata ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2007: e.T63930A12729296. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T63930A12729296.en. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Storeria occipitomaculata at the Reptile Database. Accessed 30 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Species Profile: Redbellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) | SREL Herpetology". Retrieved 2022-04-28.
  4. ^ a b c Cairns, Nicholas A.; Rutherford, Pamela L.; Hoysak, Drew J. (2018). "Morphology, reproduction, habitat use, and hibernation of Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) near its northern range limit". The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 132 (2): 150–162. doi:10.22621/cfn.v132i2.2054. ISSN 0008-3550. S2CID 92805723.
  5. ^ a b Semlitsch, Raymond D.; Moran, Gary B. (1984). "Ecology of the Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) Using Mesic Habitats in South Carolina". The American Midland Naturalist. 111 (1): 33–40. doi:10.2307/2425539. ISSN 0003-0031. JSTOR 2425539.
  6. ^ a b c d Do Amaral, José Pedro Sousa (1999). Lip-curling in redbelly snakes (Storeria occipitomaculata): Functional morphology and ecological significance. Journal of Zoology, 248(3), 289-293.
  7. ^ a b Jordan, Jr., Ralph (1970). "Death-Feigning in a Captive Red-Bellied Snake, Storeria occipitomaculata (Storer)". Herpetologica. 26 (4): 466–468. ISSN 0018-0831. JSTOR 3890772.
  8. ^ "Biographies of People Honored in the Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America". Retrieved 2024-04-24.
  9. ^ Beolens, Bo; Grayson, Michael; Watkins, Michael (2011). The eponym dictionary of reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5.

Further reading edit

  • Storer, D.H. (1839). Reports on the Fishes, Reptiles and Birds of Massachusetts. Boston: Commissioners on the Zoological and Botanical Survey of the State. (Dutton and Wentworth, State Printers). xii + 426 pp. ("C[oluber]. occipito-maculatus", new species, p. 230).

External links edit