|Distribution||USA (Arkansas ?, E Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Nebraska, N Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, S Illinois, S Indiana, S Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, SE New York, Connecticut)|
Type locality: Pennsylvania
helenae: Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, etc.; Type locality: “Monticello, Miss., [...], Southern Illinois (abundant in the woods)”;
|Diagnosis||DEFINITION (genus). Snakes of the genus Carphophis are slender, cylindrical, relatively short (maximum total length 39.1 cm, Conant and Collins 1998), terrestrial, semifossorial, worm and slug predators. Each trunk vertebra has a long, narrow centrum with a long, low neural arch lacking epizygapophysial spines; a long, low neural spine; a normally spatulate (broad and round) to cuneate (as opposed to oblanceolate) haemal keel; and short, thick, flattened, prezygapophyseal accessory processes. Those anterior have a well developed hypophysis. In the skull, the premaxilla is enlarged, the nasal bones arc expanded dorsally, and the quadrate is shortened. Dorsally, the body is uniform gray, gray-brown, gray-violet or dark brown; juveniles are darker than adults. The unpatterned venter is pinkish to salmon-colored, with the pigment extending upward onto the lower sides. The head is small and depressed, and not wider than the neck. It is bluntly pointed with small black or violet eyes, and lacks any markings. The tail is short, and ends in a blunt, spine-like scale. Body scales are smooth, pitless, and may be somewhat opalescent. They normally lie in 13 rows throughout, but rarely occur in 14 or 15 rows near the vent. Beneath are 109-150 ventrals, 21—41 subcaudals in two rows, and a divided cloacal scute. Dorsal head scales include 1 rostral; either 2 separate internasals, or they are fused with the prefrontal scales; 2 prefrontals (which enter the orbit); I large frontal; two small supraoculars; and two parietal scales. Lateral head scales present are 1 nasal with a nearly medial naris, I elongated loreal (which enters the orbit), 0 (or rarely 1) preocular, 1 (rarely 2) postocular, 1+1-3 temporals, 5-6 supralabials, and 6 (5-7) infralabials. No gular scales are present between the pair of posterior chin shields and the ventral scutes. The single, undivided hemipenis has a forked sulcus spermali- cus, a calyculate crown, numerous small spines along the shaft, and three large basal hooks. Average tooth counts and ranges are as follows: maxilla 10- 11 (9-12), dentary 16-17 (14-23), palatine 13-14 (10-17), and pterygoid 15-18 (14-19). The maxillary and mandibular teeth are small, pointed, and subequal in length. (Ernst 2003).|
Comparisons: C. amoenus with pale ventral pigmentantion extending dorsally to body scale row 1 or 2; dorsal coloration tan to dark or chestnut brown. In vermis, the pale ventral pigmentation extends dorsally to body scale row 3; the dorsal coloration is dark gray to gray-violet. (Ernst 2003).
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