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Drymarchon couperi (HOLBROOK, 1842)

IUCN Red List - Drymarchon couperi - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Eastern Indigo Snake, Gopher Snake, Blue Indigo Snake, Blue Bull Snake
G: Östliche Indigonatter 
SynonymColuber couperi HOLBROOK 1842: 75
Georgia Couperi — BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 92 (?)
Spilotes couperii — COPE 1860: 342
Spilotes corais couperii — LÖNNBERG 1894
Compsosoma corais couperii — COPE 1900:858 (part).
Spilotes corais couperi — BROWN 1901 (part)
Drymarchon corais couperi — AMARAL 1929: 330
Drymarchon corais couperi — SMITH 1941: 479
Drymarchon corais couperi — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 191
Drymarchon couperi — CROTHER 2000: 61
Drymarchon corais couperi — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 340
Drymarchon couperi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 245 
DistributionUSA (Georgia, Florida)

Type locality: "dry pine hills, south of the Alatamaha" , (Altamaha River, Georgia), restricted to "Wayne County, Georgia" by Schmidt (1953).  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 3937; 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Drymarchon couperi is distinguished by a suite of molecular and morphological features, including relatively longer and deeper head dimensions, longer and shallower th infralabials, and longer temporal scales. Overall, the presence of a longer and shallow th infralabial scale provides the best univariate predictor for this species (Table 3; Fig. 5). Based on both DNA (Krysko et al. 2016) and morphology (specimens examined in this study) this species includes populations from southeastern Georgia southward along the Atlantic coast to central peninsular Florida (Krysko et al. 2016).
CommentSynonymy: BOULENGER (1894) synonymzied this species with Drymarchon corais.

Distribution: populations on the gulf coast of Florida and west to Mississippi have been assigned to D. kolpobasileus (Krysko et al. 2016). See map in Krysko et al. 2016: 561 (Fig. ). 
EtymologyNamed after James Hamilton Couper who collected (or provided) the type specimen to Holbrook. 
  • Amaral, A. do 1929. Estudos sobre ofídios neotrópicos. XXI. Revisão do gênero Drymarchon Fitzinger. Memórias do Instituto Butantan 4: 323-330 - get paper here
  • Baird, S. F. and C. Girard. 1853. Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part 1.-Serpents. Smithsonian Inst., Washington, xvi + 172 pp. - get paper here
  • Bauder, Javan M. and Patrick Barnhart. 2014. Factors affecting the accuracy and precision of triangulated radio telemetry location of eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon couperi). Herpetological Review 45 (4): 590-597
  • Bauder, Javan M., David R. Breininger, M. Rebecca Bolt, Michael L. Legare, Christopher L. Jenkins, Betsie B. Rothermel and Kevin McGarigal. 2016. Seasonal Variation in Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) Movement Patterns and Space Use in Peninsular Florida at Multiple Temporal Scales. Herpetologica 72 (3): 214-226
  • Bauder, Javan M.; David R. Breininger, M. Rebecca Bolt, Michael L. Legare, Christopher L. Jenkins, Betsie B. Rothermel, and Kevin McGarigal 2015. Seasonal Variation in Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) Movement Patterns and Space Use in Peninsular Florida at Multiple Temporal Scales Herpetologica Sep 2016, Vol. 72, No. 3: 214-226. - get paper here
  • Bauder, Javan M.; Dirk J. Stevenson, Christopher S. Sutherland and Christopher L. Jenkins 2017. Occupancy of Potential Overwintering Habitat on Protected Lands by Two Imperiled Snake Species in the Coastal Plain of the Southeastern United States Journal of Herpetology 51 (1): 73–88 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - get paper here
  • Breininger, David R.; M. Rebecca Bolt, Michael L. Legare, John H. Drese, and Eric D. Stolen 2011. Factors Influencing Home-Range Sizes of Eastern Indigo Snakes in Central Florida. Journal of Herpetology 45 (4): 484-490. - 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.
  • Couper, John; Chiszar, David;Smith, Hobart M. 1996. Geographic Distribution. Drymarchon couperi. Herpetological Review 27 (3): 154 - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. 2000. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Herpetological Circular 29: 1-82
  • 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
  • Deitloff, Jennifer; Valerie M. Johnson, Craig Guyer 2013. Bold Colors in a Cryptic Lineage: Do Eastern Indigo Snakes Exhibit Color Dimorphism?. PLoS One 8(5): e64538. - get paper here
  • Enge, Kevin M. 2009. Venomous and non-venomous snakes of Florida. Publication of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. 16 pp.
  • 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
  • Godley, J. Steve. 2015. Drymarchon couperi (eastern indigo snake) historical relative abundance. Herpetological Review 46 (3): 447
  • Goetz, Scott M.; James C. Godwin, Michelle Hoffman, Fred Antonio, and David A. Steen 2018. Eastern Indigo Snakes Exhibit an Innate Response to Pit Viper Scent and an Ontogenetic Shift in Their Response to Mouse Scent Herpetologica Jun 2018, Vol. 74, No. 2: 152-158. - get paper here
  • Holbrook, John E. 1838. North American Herpetology, Vol. 3 (1st ed.). J. Dobson, Philadelphia, 122 pp. - get paper here
  • Hyslop, Natalie L.; J Michael Meyers, Robert J. Cooper, and Terry M. Norton 2009. Survival of radio-implanted Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake) in relation to body size and sex. Herpetologica 65 (2): 199-206 - get paper here
  • Jensen, John B.; Carlos D. Camp, Whit Gibbons, & Matt J. Elliott 2008. Amphibians and reptiles of Georgia. University of Georgia Press, 575 pp.
  • Krysko, Kenneth L.; Leroy P. Nuñez, Catherine A. Lippi, Daniel J. Smith, Michael C. Granatosky 2016. Pliocene–Pleistocene lineage diversifications in the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) in the Southeastern United States Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • KRYSKO, KENNETH L.; MICHAEL C. GRANATOSKY, LEROY P. NUÑEZ, DANIEL J. SMITH 2016. A cryptic new species of Indigo Snake (genus Drymarchon) from the Florida Platform of the United States. Zootaxa 4138 (3): 549–569 - get paper here
  • Lawler, H. E. 1977. The status of Drymarchon corais couperi (Holbrook), the eastern indigo snake, in the southeastern United States. Herpetological Review 8 (3): 76-79 - get paper here
  • Lönnberg, Einar 1894. Notes on reptiles and batrachians collected in Florida in 1892 and 1893. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 17 (1003): 317-339 - get paper here
  • McKelvy, Alexander D., Dirk J. Stevenson and Matt Elliott. 2013. Geographic Distribution: Drymarchon couperi (eastern indigo snake). Herpetological Review 44 (4): 628
  • Means, D. Bruce, Kenneth R. Sims and Kenneth L. Krysko. 2010. Geographic distribution: Drymarchon couperi. Herpetological Review 41 (3): 380 - get paper here
  • Metcalf, M F & Herman, J E 2018. Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake) Diet Herpetological Review 49 (2): 341 - get paper here
  • Miele, N. 2005. Drymarchon couperi - American Dream. The Eastern Indigo Snake. Reptilia (GB) (43): 36-42 - get paper here
  • Mile, N. 2007. Drymarchon couperi - die östliche Indigonatter. Reptilia (Münster) 12 (65): 64-71 - get paper here
  • O'Bryan, Christopher O 2017. Documentation of unusual movement behaviour of the indigo snake Drymarchon couperi (Holbrook, 1842)(Squamata: Colubridae), an upland species, in a pastureland matrix of the USA. Herpetology Notes 10: 317-318 - get paper here
  • Saviola, Anthony J.; William E. Lamoreaux, Regis Opferman, and David Chiszar, Steven J. Price, and Michael E. Dorcas 2011. Chemosensory Response of the Threatened Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) to Chemical and Visual Stimuli of Mus musculus. Herp. Cons. Biol. 6 (3) - get paper here
  • Schäberle, W. 2012. Die Historie der Indigonatter in der Terraristik. Ophidia 6 (2): 25-29 - get paper here
  • Schäberle, Wolfgang 2008. Beobachtung beim Fressverhalten der Drymarchon corais couperi (Östliche Indigonatter). Ophidia 2 (1) - get paper here
  • Smith,H.M. 1941. A review of the subspecies of the indigo snake (Drymarchon corais). J. Washington Acad. Sci. 31: 466-481. - get paper here
  • Steen, David A., James A. Stiles, Sierra H. Stiles, James C. Godwin and Craig Guyer. 2016. Observations of feeding behavior by reintroduced Indigo Snakes in southern Alabama. Herpetological Review 47 (1): 11-13
  • Stevenson, Dirk J. and Houston C. Chandler 2017. The Herpetofauna of Conservation Lands along the Altamaha River, Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist 16(2):261-282 - get paper here
  • Stevenson, Dirk J.; Kevin M. Enge, Lawrence D. Carlile, Karen J. Dyer, Terry M. Norton, Natalie L. Hyslop, and Richard A. Kiltie 2009. An Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) Mark-Recapture Study in Southeastern Georgia. Herp. Cons. Biol. 4: 30-42 - get paper here
  • Tennant, A. & Bartlett, R.D. 2000. Snakes of North America - Eastern and Central Regions. Gulf Publishing, Houston, TX, 588 pp.
  • 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.
  • Werning, H. 2009. Florida - ein kleiner herpetologischer Reiseführer. Draco 10 (37): 4-23 - get paper here
  • Wirth, Michael W 2013. Alle Jahre wieder – Ökologie der Überwinterung von Amphibien und Reptilien. Draco 14 (55): 6-25 - get paper here
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