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Seminatrix pygaea (COPE, 1871)

IUCN Red List - Seminatrix pygaea - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesSeminatrix pygaea cyclas DOWLING 1950
Seminatrix pygaea paludis DOWLING 1950
Seminatrix pygaea pygaea (COPE 1871) 
Common NamesE: Black Swamp Snake
cyclas: South Florida Swamp Snake
paludis: Carolina Swamp Snake
pygaea: North Florida Swamp Snake 
SynonymContia pygaea COPE 1871: 223
Contia pygaea — GARMAN 1884: 93
Tropidonotus pygaeus — BOULENGER 1893: 228
Seminatrix pygaea — COPE 1895: 678
Contia pygaea — LOENNBERG 1894
Seminatrix pygaea — DOWLING 1950
Seminatrix pygaea — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 160
Seminatrix pygaea — ERNST & ERNST 2003: 314
Seminatrix pygaea — CROTHER et al. 2012
Liodytes pygaea — MCVAY & CARSTENS 2013
Seminatrix pygaea — WALLACH et al. 2014: 665
Seminatrix pygaea — NUÑEZ et al. 2023

Seminatrix pygaea cyclas (DOWLING 1950)
Seminatrix pygaea cyclas — CROTHER 2000
Seminatrix pygaea cyclas — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 162
Seminatrix pygaea cyclas — CROTHER et al. 2012
Seminatrix pygaea cyclas — NUÑEZ et al. 2023 (by implication)

Seminatrix pygaea paludis DOWLING 1950
Seminatrix pygaea paludis — PALMER & BRASWELL 1995
Seminatrix pygaea paludis — CROTHER 2000
Seminatrix pygaea paludis — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 163
Seminatrix pygaea paludis — CROTHER et al. 2012
Seminatrix pygaea paludis — NUÑEZ et al. 2023 (by implication)

Seminatrix pygaea pygaea (COPE 1871)
Contia pygaea COPE 1871: 223
Seminatrix pygaea pygaea — MEHRTENS 1987: 167
Seminatrix pygaea pygaea — CROTHER 2000
Seminatrix pygaea pygaea — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 161
Seminatrix pygaea pygaea — CROTHER et al. 2012
Liodytes pygaea pygaea — GUYER et al. 2018
Seminatrix pygaea pygaea — NUÑEZ et al. 2023 (by implication) 
DistributionUSA (Florida, SE Alabama, S/E Georgia, South Carolina, E North Carolina)

cyclas: USA (Florida); type locality: Indian Prairie, 2-8 miles NE of Lakeport, Glades County, Florida.

paludis: USA (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia); Type locality: Camp Davis, Near hollyridge, Onslow County, North Carolina.

pygaea: USA (Florida, S Georgia); Type locality: Volusia [county], Florida  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 3533
Holotype: UMMZ 91457 [paludis]
Holotype: UMMZ 96301 [cyclas] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus Seminatrix): “Size : small (maximum length, ca. 425 mm.) with a moderately slender body and a short tail (15 to 25 per cent of total length). Head only slightly distinct from body ; eyes medium, about the same size as distance between anterior margin of eye to nostril. Coloration : black dorsally with faint pale lines running through the center of three to five lateral scale rows. Ventral metallic red (7i)3 with the dorsal color extending on the anterior edges for about one-third of the width; labials grayish olive (21" "r). Nor- mal colubrid scutellation: a rounded rostral, two internasals, two prefront- als, a frontal, two supraoculars, two parietals. Nasal single, nostril near upper margin with a suture extending from it to labial border. Loreal present. Oculars usually 1+2. Temporals usually 1+2 or 1 + 1. Upper labials, usually 8; lower labials, usually 9. Two pairs of chin shields, sub- equal in length. Dorsals smooth, rounded, and without apical pits, lower rows widest, decreasing in width dorsally; scale formula usually 17 - 17 - (-4/-4) - 15. Ventrals 112 to 134; anal plate usually divided; caudals paired, 35 to 45 (M = ca. 41) in females, 46 to 56 (M = ca. 51) in males. Dentition complete, maxillary teeth 19 to 21, increasing slightly in length posteriorly; pterygoid teeth 17 to 18, decreasing posteriorly; palatine teeth 10 to 12, sub- equal; dentary teeth 20 to 23, subequal. Hypapophyses present through- out vertebral column. Hemipenis unforked, spinose, and without papillae; four indistinct groups of enlarged spines near base, two basal hooks lat- erally ; sulcus spermaticus single, lips not conspicuously raised.” (Dowling 1950) 
CommentType species: Contia pygaea COPE 1871 is the type species of the genus Seminatrix COPE 1895: 678. See diagnosis in DOWLING 1950.

Diagnosis (paludis): ventrals over 126 (M ca. 131). 
Etymologyfrom Latin “pyga”, from Greek “the rump”; apparently after an unusual condition in the holotype which was more compressed than other specimens. “cyclas” form Greek, “garment ornamented with aborder around the bottom” (DOWLING 1950). 
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  • 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
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  • Cope, E.D. 1871. Ninth contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 23: 200-224 - 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
  • Dorcas, Michael E ; Gibbons, J Whitfield; Dowling, Herndon G 1998. Seminatrix, S. pygaea. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 679: 1-5 - get paper here
  • Dowling, Herndon G. 1950. Studies of the black swamp snake, Seminatrix pygaea (Cope), with descriptions of two new subspecies. Miscellaneous publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (76): 1-38 - get paper here
  • Durso, A. M. and B. Rosenthal 2016. Seminatrix pygaea (Black Swampsnake) predation. Herpetological Review 47(3): 484-485. - get paper here
  • Durso, A.M., Davis, S.F., Carter, R.F., Keim, M., Lynch, T. & Smith, L. 2017. Seminatrix pygaea (Black Swampsnake) Predation. Herpetological Review 48 (3): 683-685. - get paper here
  • Enge, Kevin M. 2009. Venomous and non-venomous snakes of Florida. Publication of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. 16 pp.
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  • Gibbons, J. W. & Mike Dorcas 2004. North American Water Snakes. University of Oklahoma Press, 496 pp.
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  • Guyer, Craig; Mark A. Bailey, and Robert H. Mount 2018. Lizards and snakes of Alabama. University of Alabama Press, 397 pp. - get paper here
  • Horn, K & Kontos, C 2018. Liodytes pygaea cyclas (Southern Florida Swampsnake) and Coluber constrictor (North American Racer) Predation and diet. Herpetological Review 49 (2): 345 - get paper here
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  • Mays, Jonathan D., Enge, Kevin M. and Moler, Paul E. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Liodytes pygaea pygaea (Northern Florida Swampsnake). Herpetological Review 47 (4): 630 - get paper here
  • McVay, John David; Bryan Carstens 2013. Testing monophyly without well-supported gene trees: Evidence from multi-locus nuclear data conflicts with existing taxonomy in the snake tribe Thamnophiini. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Volume 68, Issue 3, September 2013, Pages 425–431 - get paper here
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  • Palmer, W.M. & Braswell, A.L. 1995. Reptiles of North Carolina. Univ. North Carolina Press
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