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Nerodia clarkii (BAIRD & GIRARD, 1853)

IUCN Red List - Nerodia clarkii - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesNerodia clarkii clarkii (BAIRD & GIRARD 1853)
Nerodia clarkii compressicauda KENNICOTT 1860
Nerodia clarkii taeniata (COPE 1895) 
Common NamesE: Salt Marsh Snake
clarkii: Gulf Salt Marsh Snake
compressicauda: Mangrove Salt Marsh Snake
taeniata: Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake 
SynonymRegina Clarkii BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 48
Tropidonotus clarkii — BOULENGER 1893: 238
Natrix compressicauda — BARBOUR 1915
Natrix clarki — ALLEN 1932
Natrix sipedon clarkii — CLAY 1938: 180
Nerodia clarkii clarkii — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 155
Nerodia clarkii taeniata — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 155
Nerodia clarkii compressicauda — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 155
Nerodia clarki — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 627
Natrix fasciata clarki
Nerodia clarkii — CROTHER et al. 2012
Nerodia clarkii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 483
Nerodia clarki — LEMOS-ESPINAL 2015

Nerodia clarkii clarkii (BAIRD & GIRARD, 1853)
Regina Clarkii BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 48
Nerodia clarkii clarkii — CROTHER 2000: 66
Nerodia clarkii clarkii — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 147
Nerodia clarkii clarkii — CROTHER et al. 2012

Nerodia clarkii compressicauda KENNICOTT, 1860
Nerodia compressicauda KENNICOTT 1860: 335
Tropidonotus ustus COPE 1860: 340
Tropidonotus compressicaudus walkeri YARROW 1883: 154
Tropidonotus compressicaudus — GARMAN 1884: 27
Natrix compressicauda bivillata COPE 1889: 392
Tropidonotus compressicauda — BOULENGER 1893: 238
Natrix compressicauda — LOENNBERG 1894
Natrix sipedon compressicauda — CLAY 1938: 180
Nerodia fasciata compressicauda — MEHRTENS 1987: 156
Nerodia clarkii compressicauda — CROTHER 2000: 66
Nerodia clarkii compressicauda — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 149
Nerodia clarkii compressicauda — CROTHER et al. 2012

Nerodia clarkii taeniata (COPE 1895)
Natrix compressicauda taeniata COPE 1895: 676
Nerodia clarkii taeniata — CROTHER 2000: 67
Nerodia clarkii taeniata — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 148
Nerodia clarkii taeniata — CROTHER et al. 2012 
DistributionUSA (coastal Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, SE Texas),
N Cuba

clarki: USA (coastal Texas, Alabama)

compressicauda: USA (S Florida and the Florida Keys); northern coast of Cuba; Type locality: south of Tampa Bay, Florida.

taeniata: USA (Florida); Type locality: Florida, Volusia County, Volusia, National Gardens.

Type locality: Indianola, Calhoun Co., Texas.  
TypesHolotype: USNM 2264
Holotype: USNM 1348 [compressicauda]
Syntypes: ANSP 10903-04 [taeniata]
Syntype: USNM 13692 [bivittata]
Holotype: USNM 5286 [ustus]
Holotype: USNM 10681 [walkeri] 
CommentFor illustrations see Wright and Wright, 1957; Neill, 1965 (Cuban specimen); Conant and Collins 1991; Ashton and Ashton, 1982. DUNSON (1979) synonymized N. c. taeniata with N. c. compressicauda, proposing that it was a pattern variant of the latter. LAWSON (1991) resurrected N. c. taeniata based on allozyme data.

Ecology: Nerodia clarkii is the only North American snake species restricted to a brackish water environment and has evolved behavioral (Pettus 1963) and physiological (Dunson 1980) specializations associated with a salt tolerance.

Habitat: at least partially coastal and thus considered (partially) “marine”. See also Ecology. 
EtymologyNamed after Lieutenant ]ohn Henry Clark (1830-1885), an American surveyor, naturalist, collector, and a zoologist on the U.S./Mexican Border Survey (1850-1855). Under the auspices of the Smithsonian, he conducted the Texas Boundary Survey (1860). 
  • Allen, Morrow J. 1932. A survey of the Amphibians and reptiles of Harrison County, Mississippi. American Museum Novitates (542): 1-20 - get paper here
  • Ashton, R.E., Jr., and Ashton, P.S. 1982. Handbook of reptiles and amphibians of Florida. Pt. I. Snakes. Windward PubI., Inc., Miami: 176 pp.
  • 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
  • Barbour, Thomas;Noble, Gladwyn Kingsley 1915. Notes on the water snake Natrix compressicauda. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 1915 (January): 29-35 - 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, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Burbrink FT, Futterman I. 2019. Female‐ biased gape and body-size dimorphism in the New World watersnakes (tribe: Thamnophiini) oppose predictions from Rensch's rule. Ecol Evol. 00:1–10
  • 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. 1895. On some North American Snakes. American Naturalist 29: 676-680 - get paper here
  • 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
  • DiMeo, Mark Alexander 2019. Testing the Waters: Diversification and Selection in the Nerodia fasciata/clarkii Species Complex. MSc Thesis, Clemson University, 3202 - get paper here
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Dunson, W. A. 1980. The relation of sodium and water balance to survival in sea water of estuarine and freshwater races of the snakes Nerodia fasciata, N. sipedon and N. valida. Copeia 1980:268–280 - get paper here
  • Dunson, William A. 1979. Occurrence of partially striped forms of the mangrove snake Nerodia fasciata compressicauda Kenicott and comments on the status of N. f. taeniata Cope. Florida Scientist 42: 102-112 - get paper here
  • Duran M 2021. An annotated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of North Padre Island, Texas, USA, with comparisons to adjacent barrier island and mainland herpetofauna. ZooKeys 1073: 119-175 - 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
  • Gibbons, J. W. & Mike Dorcas 2004. North American Water Snakes. University of Oklahoma Press, 496 pp.
  • Guyer, Craig; Mark A. Bailey, and Robert H. Mount 2018. Lizards and snakes of Alabama. University of Alabama Press, 397 pp. - get paper here
  • Hanseknecht, K.A. 2008. Lingual Luring by Mangrove Saltmarsh Snakes (Nerodia clarkii compressicauda) Journal of Herpetology 42 (1): 9-15. - get paper here
  • Hawthorne, William H. & Jeffrey M. Goessling 2020. A Test of Tradeoffs between Performance and Immunity in Water Snakes (Nerodia clarkii X Nerodia fasciata). Copeia 108 (3): 453-458 - get paper here
  • Holbrook, Joshua D., Thomas Chesnes, Hannah Boss, Amanda Berman, Jeff Chiyka, Christopher Bell and Caleb Bell. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Nerodia clarkii compressicauda (Mangrove Saltmarsh Watersnake). Herpetological Review 47 (1): 84 - get paper here
  • Jansen, Kevin P.; Henry R. Mushinsky & Stephen A. Karl 2008. Population genetics of the mangrove salt marsh snake, Nerodia clarkii compressicauda, in a linear, fragmented habitat. Conservation Genetics 9:401–410 - get paper here
  • Kennicott, R. 1860. Descriptions of new species of North American serpents in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 12: 328-338 - get paper here
  • Krysko, K.L., C.M. Sheehy III & J.N. Decker 2002. Cephalic dichotomy in the mangrove salt marsh snake, Nerodia clarkii compressicauda (Colubridae: Natricinae) Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 38(3): 86-87. - get paper here
  • Lawson, R. 1987. Molecular studies of Thamnophiine snakes: 1. The phylogeny of the genus Nerodia. Journal of Herpetology 21 (2): 140-157 - get paper here
  • Lawson, Robin;Meier, Albert J.;Frank, Phillip G.;Moler, Paul E. 1991. Allozyme variation and systematics of the Nerodia fasciata-Nerodia clarkii complex of water snakes (Serpentes: Colubridae). Copeia 1991 (3): 638-659 - get paper here
  • Ljustina, O., Erdmann, J.A. & Doody, J.S. 2017. Nerodia clarkii (Saltmarsh Watersnake) Retreat site / habitat use. Herpetological Review 48 (3): 678-679. - 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
  • Mays, Jonathan D., Enge, Kevin M., Emerick, Adam and Hill, E. Pierson 2017. New island records for reptiles in the Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida, USA. Herpetological Review 48 (1): 145-146 - get paper here
  • McCardle, Logan D., Anthony Haase and Clifford L. Fontenot, Jr. 2014. Geographic Distribution: Nerodia clarkii (gulf salt marsh snake). Herpetological Review 45 (1): 95 - get paper here
  • Mehrtens, J.M. 1987. Living snakes of the world in color. Sterling Publ. Co., hic., New York, NY: 480 pp.
  • Mullin, S.J. 1994. Life History Characteristics of Nerodia clarkii compressicauda at Placido Bayou, Florida Journal of Herpetology 28 (3): 371-374. - get paper here
  • Mullin, S.J. & H.R. Mushinsky 1995. Foraging ecology of the mangrove salt marsh snake, Nerodia clarkii compressicauda: effects of vegetational density Amphibia-Reptilia, 16(2): 167-175. - get paper here
  • Mullin, S.J. & H.R. Mushinsky 1997. Use of Experimental Enclosures to Examine Foraging Success in Water Snakes: A Case Study Journal of Herpetology 31 (4): 565-569. - get paper here
  • Neill, W.T. 1965. Notes on aquatic snakes, Natrix and Tretanorhi nus, in Cuba. Herpetologica 21 (1): 62-67. - get paper here
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  • Pettus D. 1963. Salinity and subspeciation in Natrix sipedon. Copeia 1963:449–504 - get paper here
  • Rautsaw, Rhett M.; Tristan D. Schramer, Rachel Acuña, Lindsay N. Arick, Mark DiMeo, Kathryn P. Mercier, Michael Schrum, Andrew J. Mason, Mark J. Margres,, Jason L. Strickland, and<br />Christopher L. Parkinson 2020. Genomic Adaptations to Salinity Resist Gene Flow in the Evolution of Floridian Watersnakes. Molecular Biology and Evolution Article - get paper here
  • Rodríguez Schettino, Lourdes, Carlos A. Mancina & Vilma Rivalta González 2013. REPTILES OF CUBA: CHECKLIST AND GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (144): 1-96 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Siegel, Dustin S.; Stanley E. Trauth, Justin L. Rheubert, Brian Rabe, Brenton Ruopp, Aurélien Miralles, Christopher M. Murray, and Robert D. Aldridge 2014. Novel Cloacal Glands in Snakes: The Phylogenetic Distribution of Ventral Urodaeal Glands in Thamnophiini. Herpetologica 70 (3): 279-289. - get paper here
  • Tennant, A. 2003. Snakes of North America - Eastern and Central Regions, revised edition. Lone Star Books, 605 pp.
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