Nerodia cyclopion - (Dumeril, Bibron, and Dumeril, 1854)
Mississippi Green Watersnake
Other English Common Names: Mississippi Green Water Snake, Mississippi green watersnake
Synonym(s): Natrix cyclopion
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Nerodia cyclopion (Duméril, Bibron and Duméril, 1854) (TSN 174243)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105757
Element Code: ARADB22010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Snakes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Colubridae Nerodia
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Nerodia cyclopion
Taxonomic Comments: Nerodia floridana formerly was included in N. cyclopion (see Lawson 1987, allozyme analyses).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 26Feb2014
Global Status Last Changed: 30Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (09Jan2006)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S1S2), Arkansas (S4), Florida (S1), Illinois (S1), Kentucky (S1), Louisiana (S5), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (SX), Tennessee (S2), Texas (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range extends on the Coastal Plain from extreme western Florida and southern Alabama to southeastern Texas, and north in the Mississippi Valley to extreme southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois (Barbour 1971, Dundee and Rossman 1989, Conant and Collins 1991, Phillips et al. 1999, Johnson 2000, Werler and Dixon 2000, Ernst and Ernst 2003, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004, Trauth et al. 2004).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations). Most occurrences are in the southern part of the range (e.g., see dot maps in Dundee and Rossman 1989, Werler and Dixon 2000), with relatively few in the north (Barbour 1971, Phillips et al. 1999, Johnson 2000, Trauth et al. 2004).

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 100,000. This snake is very common in some parts of the southern part of the range (Dundee and Rossman 1989), though uncommon in Texas (Tennant 1998, Werler and Dixon 2000). It is much less numerous northward in the Mississippi valley (Trauth et al. 2004), but even in the north some local populations may be fairly large (Keiser 1958).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some to many (13-125)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats are known. Declines have occurred as a result of drainage of sloughs and swamps and removal of aquatic vegetation, particularly in the northern part of the range (Phillips et al. 1999, Johnson 2000, Ernst and Ernst 2003).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Currently, extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable or declining at a rate of less than 10 percent over 10 years or three generations.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: This species seemingly was always relatively uncommon and sparsely distribued in the northern part of the range, where today it is even more so as a result of habitat loss.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) The range extends on the Coastal Plain from extreme western Florida and southern Alabama to southeastern Texas, and north in the Mississippi Valley to extreme southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois (Barbour 1971, Dundee and Rossman 1989, Conant and Collins 1991, Phillips et al. 1999, Johnson 2000, Werler and Dixon 2000, Ernst and Ernst 2003, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004, Trauth et al. 2004).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, FL, IL, KY, LA, MOextirpated, MS, TN, TX

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Baldwin (01003)*, Mobile (01097)
AR Arkansas (05001), Ashley (05003), Bradley (05011), Chicot (05017), Columbia (05027), Craighead (05031), Desha (05041), Drew (05043), Faulkner (05045), Greene (05055), Jackson (05067), Jefferson (05069), Lincoln (05079), Miller (05091), Pike (05109), Poinsett (05111), Prairie (05117), Pulaski (05119), Sevier (05133), Washington (05143)
IL Union (17181)
KY Fulton (21075), Hickman (21105)
MO Butler (29023)*, Dunklin (29069)*
TN Lake (47095), Obion (47131)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Perdido (03140106)+*, Perdido Bay (03140107)+*, Mobile - Tensaw (03160204)+*, Mobile Bay (03160205)+*, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+
07 Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+, Big Muddy (07140106)+
08 Bayou De Chien-Mayfield (08010201)+, Obion (08010202)+, Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, L'anguille (08020205)+, Lower Arkansas (08020401)+, Little Missouri (08040103)+, Lower Saline (08040204)+, Bayou Bartholomew (08040205)+
11 Upper Black (11010007)+*, Upper White-Village (11010013)+, Illinois (11110103)+, Lake Conway-Point Remove (11110203)+, Lower Little (11140109)+, Loggy Bayou (11140203)+, Lower Sulphur (11140302)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Gives birth to 4-101 young, June-September (Fitch 1970).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland, Scrub-shrub wetland
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Habitats include marshes, forested swamps, ditches, canals, bayous, shallow lakes and ponds, wet coastal prairie, oxbows and floodplain sloughs, sluggish tree-lined streams, flooded fields, abandoned rice fields, and rice field reservoirs, often quiet waters of wooded areas; also some brackish-water marshes along the Gulf Coast (Dundee and Rossman 1989, Werler and Dixon 2000, Ernst and Ernst 2003, Trauth et al. 2004). This snake basks on banks or in shore vegetation, and it is seldom found far from water.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Eats frogs, fishes, salamanders, tadpoles, small turtles, amd invertebrates (Ashton and Ashton 1981, Tennant 1984).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Primarily diurnal in Illinois, almost exclusively nocturnal in Texas (Tennant 1984).
Length: 127 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Medium And Large Colubrid Snakes

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway or highway with obstructions such that snakes rarely if ever cross successfully; major river, lake, pond, or deep marsh (this barrier pertains only to upland species and does not apply to aquatic or wetland snakes); densely urbanized area dominated by buildings and pavement.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Available information on movements of colubrid snakes is limited to a small minority of species. These data indicate that nearly all species have home ranges smaller or much smaller than 25 ha (e.g., less than 3 ha, Pituophis catenifer in California, Rodriguez-Robles 2003), with some up to about 75 ha (Heterodon platirhinos, average 50 ha, Plummer and Mills 2000), and the largest up to 225 ha in the biggest colubrids (Drymarchon, summer mean 50-100 ha, USFWS 1998).

Radiotelemetry data for Pantherophis indicate that residents of hibernacula that are 1-2 km apart (with suitable intervening habitat) probably interbreed (Prior et al. 1997, Blouin-Demers and Weatherhead 2002). However, "evidence of genetic structure even over short distances (e.g., 2-20 km) implies that gene flow among rat snake populations can be easily disrupted" (Prior et al. 1997). Loughheed et al. (1999) found evidence of substantial genetic exchange among local hibernacula (< 6 km apart), but gene flow over distances of 10s of km appears to be substantially less. Based on extensive radio-tracking data, Blouin-Demers and Weatherhead (2002) found that home range size of Pantherophis averaged 18.5 ha and ranged up to 93 ha; based on the most mobile individuals, Pantherophis from hibernacula up to 8 km apart can come together for mating. Pantherophis and probably other colubrids exhibit high fidelity to hibernacula and shift even to nearby sites only rarely (Prior et al. 2001).

Many of the several studies that report small home ranges for colubrids did not employ methods (e.g., radio telemetry) suitable for detecting full annual or multi-annual home range size, dispersal, or other long-distance movements, so these may have yielded underestimates of home ranges or activity areas.

At least some colubrids, including medium-sized species such as garter snakes, not uncommonly move between areas up to a few kilometers apart, and several species make extensive movements of up to several kilometers, so separation distances of 1-2 km for suitable habitat are too small for medium-sized and large colubrids.

A separation distance of 10 km for suitable habitat was selected as most appropriate for snakes assigned to this Specs Group because it seems generally unlikely that two locations separated by less than 10 km of suitable habitat would represent distinct occurrences.

For the purposes of these occurrence specifications, upland habitat is regarded as unsuitable habitat for aquatic and wetland snakes. For upland snakes, shallow or patchy wetlands are treated as unsuitable habitat whereas large deepwater habitats (subjective determination) are barriers.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Date: 12Feb2013
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: Separation distance for suitable habitat was changed from 5 km to 10 km based on comments from Dale Jackson (12 Feb 2013).
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Sep2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Sep2006
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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