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Thamnophis brachystoma (COPE, 1892)

IUCN Red List - Thamnophis brachystoma - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Shorthead Garter Snake
G: Kurzkopf-Strumpfbandnatter 
SynonymEutaenia brachystoma COPE 1892: 964
Eutaenia brachystoma — CLARK 1903
Thamnophis brachystoma — SMITH 1945
Thamnophis brachystoma — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 168
Thamnophis brachystoma — CROTHER 2000
Thamnophis brachystoma — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 101
Thamnophis brachystoma — WALLACH et al. 2014: 720 
DistributionUSA (S Michigan, NW Pennsylvania, W New York)

Type locality: Pennsylvania, Venango County, Allegheny river nr. Franklin.  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 10751 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “There are no absolute meristic characteristics that can be used to separate T. brachystoma from T. s. sirtalis. T. brachystoma is not found in mature forest although it may make slight incursions into the forest edge. It prefers open herbaceous areas. T. s. sirtalis is much more catholic in its habitat preferences, being found in forest as well as field. T. brachystoma is a more gracile snake than T. s. sirtalis with the head being no wider (or very slightly wider) than the neck. The stripes on T. brachystoma tend to be bordered by very fine black lines. There are no double rows of alternating black spots between the stripes as are so often seen in T. s. sirtalis.” (Bothner 1976) 
EtymologyNamed after the Greek brachys, meaning "short" and stoma, meaning "mouth." 
  • Asplund, K.K. 1963. Ecological factors in the distribution of Thamnophis brachystoma (Cope) Herpetologica 19 (2): 128-132. - get paper here
  • Barton, A. J. 1956. A statistical study of Thamnophis brachystoma (Cope) with comments on the kinship of T. butleri (Cope). Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 69: 71-82 - get paper here
  • Bothner, R.C. 1963. A hibernaculum of the short-headed gartersnake, Thamnophis brachystoma (Cope) Copeia 1963 (3): 572-573. - get paper here
  • Bothner, Richard C. 1976. Thamnophis brachystoma. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (190): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Bourguignon, T. 2002. Strumpfbandnattern: Herkunft - Pflege - Arten. E. Ulmer Verlag, 125 pp.
  • 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
  • Clark, H.L. 1903. The short-mouthed snake (Eutaenia brachystoma COPE) in Southern Michigan. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 16: 83-88 - 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. 1892. A new species of Eutaenia from western Pennsylvania. American Naturalist 26: 964-965 - 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
  • Ernst, C.H. & Gotte, S.W. 1986. Notes on the reproduction of the shorthead garter snake, Thamnophis brachystoma. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 22 (1): 6-9 - get paper here
  • Ernst, C.H., & Barbour, R.W. 1989. Snakes of eastern North America. George Mason Univ. Press, Fairfax, VA 282 pp.
  • Gray, B.S. 2003. A note regarding defensive behavior in the short-headed gartersnake (Thamnophis brachystoma) Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 39(1): 8-9. - get paper here
  • Gray, Brian S. 2008. Observations on the Diet of the Shorthead Garter Snake, Thamnophis brachystoma. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25): 24-28 - get paper here
  • Gray, Brian S. 2011. Longevity and Growth in the Shorthead Garter Snake, Thamnophis brachystoma. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (38): 9 - get paper here
  • Gray, Brian S. 2011. Seasonal Activity and Natural History Observations of Five Snake Species from the Central Lowland Province of Erie County, Pennsylvania. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (38): 13 - get paper here
  • GRAY, BRIAN S. & MARK LETHABY 2017. Preliminary morphometrics, growth, and natural history observations of the short-headed garter snake, Thamnophis brachystoma at two urban sites in Erie County, Pennsylvania, USA. Herpetological Bulletin (141): - get paper here
  • Grübner, D. 2006. Die seltener beobachteten Strumpfbandnattern. Draco 6 (25): 66-76 - get paper here
  • HALLAS, JOSHUA M.; THOMAS L. PARCHMAN & CHRIS R. FELDMAN. 2021. Phylogenomic analyses resolve relationships among garter snakes (Thamnophis: Natricinae: Colubridae) and elucidate biogeographic history and morphological evolution. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 107374. [2022 in print] - get paper here
  • Hallmen, M. & Chlebowy, J. 2001. Strumpfbandnattern. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 192 pp. - get paper here
  • Lethaby, M. and B. S. Gray 2016. Thamnophis brachystoma (Short-headed Gartersnake) movements and site fidelity. Herpetological Review 47(3): 485. - get paper here
  • Lethaby, Mark and Brian S. Gray. 2015. Thamnophis brachystoma (short-headed gartersnake) population size, density, and biomass. Herpetological Review 46 (4): 652 - get paper here
  • Lethaby, Mark. 2011. Thamnophis brachystoma (short-headed gartersnake) coloration. Herpetological Review 42 (3): 445-446 - get paper here
  • Mibroda, Julie E.; Darin J. McNeil, Jr., Joseph E. Duchamp, Josiah H. Townsend, and Jeffery L. Larkin 2017. Roadside Habitat Use by the Endemic Short-headed Gartersnake (Thamnophis brachystoma) in Northwestern Pennsylvania, USA. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 12 (3) - get paper here
  • Novotny, Raymond J., Mark Lethaby and Brian S. Gray. 2011. Geographic Distribution: Thamnophis brachystoma (Short-headed gartersnake). Herpetological Review 42 (3): 396 - get paper here
  • Pisani, G.R. 1967. Notes on the Courtship and mating Behavior of Thamnophis brachystoma (Cope) Herpetologica 23 (2): 112-115. - get paper here
  • Price, Andrew H. 1978. New locality records and range extensions for Thamnophis brachystoma (reptilia: Serpentes) in Pennsylvania. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 14 (4): 260-263 - get paper here
  • Pyron, R.Alexander; Frank T. Burbrink 2009. Neogene diversification and taxonomic stability in the snake tribe Lampropeltini (Serpentes: Colubridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52 (2): 524-529 - get paper here
  • Queiroz, Alan de; Robin Lawson and Julio A. Lemos-Espinal 2002. Phylogenetic Relationships of North American Garter Snakes (Thamnophis) Based on Four Mitochondrial Genes: How Much DNA Sequence Is Enough? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 22: 315-329 - get paper here
  • REINERT, HOWARD K.; ZANDER E. PERELMAN & WILLIAM I. LUTTERSCHMIDT. 2022. THAMNOPHIS BRACHYSTOMA (Short-headed Gartersnake). CLIMBING BEHAVIOR. Herpetological Review 53 (3): 522–523.
  • Rossman, Douglas A.; Ford, Neil B. & Seigel, Richard A. 1996. The Garter Snakes: Evolution and Ecology. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, xx + 332 + pp.
  • Smith, A.G. 1945. The status of Thamnophis butleri COPE, and a redescription of Thamnophis brachystoma (COPE). Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 58: 147-154 - get paper here
  • Tennant, A. 2003. Snakes of North America - Eastern and Central Regions, revised edition. Lone Star Books, 605 pp.
  • 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.
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