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Virginia valeriae BAIRD & GIRARD, 1853

IUCN Red List - Virginia valeriae - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesVirginia valeriae elegans KENNICOTT 1859
Virginia valeriae pulchra (RICHMOND 1954)
Virginia valeriae valeriae BAIRD & GIRARD 1853 
Common NamesE: Smooth Earth Snake
elegans: Western Earth Snake
pulchra: Mountain Earth Snake
valeriae: Eastern Earth Snake
G: Glatte Erdschlange 
SynonymVirginia valeriae BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 127
Carphophis harperti DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 135
Virginia elegans KENNICOTT 1859: 99
Virginia valeriae — GARMAN 1884: 98
Virginia harperti — GARMAN 1884: 99
Haldea valeriae — CAMPBELL 1962
Virginia valeriae — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 173
Virginia valeriae — CROTHER 2000
Virginia valeriae valeriae — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000
Virginia valeriae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 789
Virginia valeriae valeriae — GUYER et al. 2018

Virginia valeriae elegans KENNICOTT 1859
Virginia elegans KENNICOTT 1859: 99
Virginia elegans — JAN 1865
Virginia elegans — GARMAN 1884: 98
Virginia valeriae elegans — ALLEN 1932
Virginia valeriae elegans — DIXON 2000
Virginia valeriae elegans — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 67
Virginia valeriae elegans — GUYER et al. 2018

Virginia valeriae pulchra (RICHMOND 1954)
Haldea valeriae pulchra RICHMOND 1954
Haldea valeriae pulchra — COOPER 1967
Virginia valeriae pulchra — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 174
Virginia pulchra — COLLINS 1991
Virginia valeriae pulchra — CROTHER 2000
Virginia valeriae pulchra — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 65
Virginia pulchra — MESHAKA & COLLINS 2009
Virginia valeriae pulchra — CROTHER et al. 2012 
DistributionUSA (Texas, E Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, N Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, SE Iowa, E Kansas, S Ohio, Maryland, District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania)

elegans: Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas; Type locality: Heavily timbered regions of southern Illinois.

pulchra: USA (Unglaciated mountains and high plateaus of W Pennsylvania and adj. Maryland into NE West Virginia).

valeriae: New Jersey to South Carolina, west to Alabama, Ohio and Tennessee; Type locality: Kent County, Maryland.  
TypesHolotype: USNM
Holotype: lost, presumed to be lost by Blanchard (1923), given as Chicago Academy of Sciences (CA) 126 by Pisani(1972), an adult male collected by 'Kennicott" (Kennicott, 1859, gave collectors as H. McVean and J.W, Waugh), date of collection unknown (fide Powerll et al. 1992) [elegans]
Holotype: CM 32205 (= Carnegie Museum), an adult female collected by N. Richmond on 10August 1953 [pulchra] 
CommentSubspecies: Virginia valeriae pulchra has been elevated to species status. Collins (1991), in a peer-reviewed article, recommended that this previously defined, diagnosed, and allopatric taxon be recognized as a distinct species, a more conservative taxonomy than that in previous use. Collins (1997) presented this proposed change to his snake systematist group, composed of John E. Cadle, Brian I. Crother, Harry W. Greene, L. Lee Grismer, James A. MacMahon, James R. McCranie, and Samuel S. Sweet, and the majority of those individuals responding recommended that pulchra be so recognized. Collins (1997) followed that recommendation. [from:]. However, other others haven’t accepted species status yet.

Type species: Virginia valeriae BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 127 is the type species of the genus Virginia BAIRD & GIRARD 1853. 
EtymologyEtymology (pulchra): Named after Latin “pulchra” = beautiful, handsome, fine, fair. 
  • Allen, Morrow J. 1932. A survey of the Amphibians and reptiles of Harrison County, Mississippi. American Museum Novitates (542): 1-20 - get paper here
  • Anthony, Travis 2019. Herpetological Survey of Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest and Holliday Lake State Park, 30 September, 2018. Catesbeiana 39 (1): 3-9 - 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
  • Beane, J C 2019. New geographic distribution records for reptiles from North Carolina, USA. Herpetological Review 50 (3): 538-542 - get paper here
  • Bender, Michael J. 2014. Geographic Distribution: Virginia valeriae (smooth earthsnake). Herpetological Review 45 (3): 467 - 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
  • 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
  • Campbell, H. W. 1962. An extension of the range of Haldea valeriae in Florida. Copeia 1962 (2): 438-439 - get paper here
  • Camper, Jeffrey D. 2019. The Reptiles of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, 288 pp. [review in Copeia 107 (3): 590, 2019] - get paper here
  • Christiansen, James L. 1973. The distribution and variation of the western earth snake, Virginia valeriae elegans (Kennicott) in Iowa. Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science 80:
  • 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
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  • Conant, Roger 1936. Virginia valeriae valeriae in Pennsylvania. Herpetologica 1 (1): - get paper here
  • Conant, Roger 1938. The Reptiles of Ohio. American Midland Naturalist 20 (1): 1-200 - 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.
  • Cooper, J. E. 1967. The snake Haldea valeriae pulchra in Maryland. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 3 (4): 101 - get paper here
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  • Duméril, A.M.C., G. BIBRON & A.H.A. DUMÉRIL 1854. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire Naturelle complète des Reptiles. Vol. 7 (partie 1). Paris, xvi + 780 S. - get paper here
  • Dundee, H.A., & Rossman, D.A. 1989. The amphibians and reptiles of Louisiana. Louisiana St. Univ. Press, Baton Rouge 300 pp.
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  • Eli, John, and Ben Haines-Eitzen, Justin Lee, David Lee, and George R. Pisani 2015. Effects of Drought on Two Small Kansas Snakes. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 22 (4): 153-159  - get paper here
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  • Holt, B.D. & Guinane, C. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Virginia valeriae (Smooth Earthsnake). Herpetological Review 48 (3): 592. - get paper here
  • Hulbert, Austin and Hall, Joshua M. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Virginia valeriae elegans (Western Smooth Earthsnake). Herpetological Review 48 (1): 132 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1865. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 12. Livraison. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • Jensen, John B.; Bailey, Mark A. 1995. Virginia valeriae. Herpetological Review 26 (4): 210 - get paper here
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  • Jessee, L.D. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Virginia valeriae valeriae (Eastern Smooth Earthsnake). Herpetological Review 48 (3): 592. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Kessler, Eric M. 1997. Geographic Distribution. Virginia valeriae. Herpetological Review 28 (2): 99 - get paper here
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  • Meyers, Charles W. 1962. Ontogenetic color variation of the snake Virginia valeriae. Herpetologica 18 (4): 273-274 - get paper here
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  • Owen, Dustin A. S., James P. Flaherty, K. H. Wild, Jonathan S. Clinger and C. M. Gienger. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Virginia valeriae elegans (Western Smooth Earthsnake). Herpetological Review 47 (2): 267 - get paper here
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  • Pisani, George R.;Collins, Joseph T. 1971. The smooth earth snake, Virginia valeriae (Baird and Girard), in Kentucky. Transactions of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences 32 (1/2): 16-25
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  • Richmond, N. D. 1954. The ground snake Haldea valeriae in Pennsylvania and West Virginia with description of new subspecies. Annals of the Carnegie Museum 33 (15): 251-260
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