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Carphophis vermis (KENNICOTT, 1859)

IUCN Red List - Carphophis vermis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Western Worm Snake 
SynonymCeluta vermis KENNICOTT 1859: 99
Carphophiops amoena var. vermis — GARMAN 1884: 101
Carphophiops vermis — COPE 1893: 385
Carphophis vermis — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 181
Carphophis vermis — CROTHER 2000: 57
Carphophis amoenus vermis — CRAVEN & KNUDSEN 1996
Carphophis amoenus vermis — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 84
Carphophis vermis — COLLINS & TAGGART 2002
Carphophis vermis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 149 
DistributionUSA (S Iowa, SE Nebraska, E Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, E Oklahoma, NE-Texas; isolated records from SW Wisconsin, SE Arkansas)

Type locality: Missouri  
Reproductionoviparous. Hybridizes with with Carphophis amoenus helenae in a relictual, disjunct area in NE-Louisiana (CONANT & COLLINS 1991). 
TypesHolotype: CHAS (was NWU, but probably lost; not in USNM) (P.R. Hoy). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and 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). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the Latin vermis (worm). 
  • Aldridge, R.D. & D.E. Metter 1973. The reproductive cycle of the Western Worm Snake, Carphophis vermis, in Missouri Copeia 1973 (3): 472-477. - get paper here
  • Bailey, Reeve M. 1939. Carphophis amoena vermis and Lampropeltis calligaster in Iowa. Copeia 1939 (4): 218-220 - get paper here
  • Clark, Donald R., Jr. 1968. A proposal of specific status for the western worm snake, Carphophis amoenus vermis (Kennicott). Herpetologica 24 (2): 104-112 - get paper here
  • Collins J T 1991. Viewpoint: a new taxonomic arrangement for some North American amphibians and reptiles. Herpetological Review 22 (2): 42-43 - get paper here
  • Collins, J.T. & Collins, S.L. 2009. A pocket guide to Kansas snakes, 2nd ed. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, 69 pp.
  • Collins, J.T. & Collins, S.L. 2010. A pocket guide to Kansas snakes, 3rd ed. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, 69 pp.
  • Collins, J.T. and T. W. Taggart 2002. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Fifth Edition. Center for North American Herpetology, 52 pp.
  • Collins, Joseph T. 2008. New Records of Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles in Kansas for 2007. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25): 9 - get paper here
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Cope, E.D. 1893. On a collection of batrachia and reptilia from southwest Missouri. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 1893: 383-385 - get paper here
  • Craven, S.R. & Knudsen, G.J. 1996. Snakes of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin.
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Dundee, H.A., & Rossman, D.A. 1989. The amphibians and reptiles of Louisiana. Louisiana St. Univ. Press, Baton Rouge 300 pp.
  • Force, Edith R. 1928. A Preliminary Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles of Tulsa County. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 8: - get paper here
  • Garman, Samuel 1884. The reptiles and batrachians of North America. Mem. Mus. comp. Zool, Cambridge (Massachusetts), 8 (3): xxxiv + 185 pp. [1883] [CNAH reprint 10] - get paper here
  • Irwin, Kelly J. 2004. Arkansas Snake Guide. Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Little Rock, 50 pp.
  • Kennicott, R. 1859. Notes on Coluber calligaster of Say, and a description of a new species of Serpents in the collection of the north Western University of Evanston,Ill. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 11: 98-100 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Parmerlee Jr, John S.; Robert Powell 2021. An amelanistic Western Wormsnake (Carphophis vermis) from Missouri, USA. Reptiles & Amphibians 28 (2): 306
  • Robison, H. W. & McAllister, C. T. 2012. Geographic distribution: Carphophis vermis (western worm snake). Herpetological Review 43: 447 - get paper here
  • Rossman, D. A. 1973. Evidence for the conspecificity of Carphophis amoenus (Say) and Carphophis vermis (Kennicott). Journal of Herpetology 7 (2): 140-141 - get paper here
  • SIEBENECK, ZANE M. 2021. Geographic distribution: CARPHOPHIS VERMIS (Western Wormsnake). USA: MISSOURI: Adair Co. Herpetological Review 52 (3): 577–578. - get paper here
  • Tennant, A. & Bartlett, R.D. 2000. Snakes of North America - Eastern and Central Regions. Gulf Publishing, Houston, TX, 588 pp.
  • Tumlison, Renn. 2014. Geographic Distribution: Carphophis vermis (western wormsnake). Herpetological Review 45 (3): 464-465 - get paper here
  • VanDeWalle, Terry 2022. The Natural History of the Snakes and Lizards of Iowa. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, Iowa, 384 pp. ISBN: 978-1- 609388-37-9. [review in HR 54 (1): 151] - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Werler, John E. & James R. Dixon 2000. Texas Snakes. University of Texas Press, 544 pages
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