- (Say, 1825)
Other English Common Names: Queensnake
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s):
Regina septemvittata (Say, 1825) (TSN 174125)
French Common Names: couleuvre royale
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102448
Element Code: ARADB27040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
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: Regina septemvittata
Taxonomic Comments: Molecular data indicate that Regina is polyphyletic; a taxonomic revision is warranted (Alfaro and Arnold 2001). See Ernst et al. (2002) for a discussion of the taxonomy of Regina.
Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Sep2006
Global Status Last Changed: 30Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
National Status: N2
U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S2), Delaware (S1), District of Columbia (S1), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S4), Indiana (S4), Kentucky (S4), Maryland (S5), Michigan (S4), Mississippi (S3), Missouri (SX), New Jersey (S1), New York (S1), North Carolina (S4), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (S3), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S4), Wisconsin (S1)
Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: E
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Endangered
Comments on COSEWIC: Designated Threatened in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in April 2010.
This species has a restricted and shrinking distribution in southwest Ontario. It consists of scattered small populations which are isolated due to habitat fragmentation and the species limited dispersal capacity. Over the last decade, the number of extant locations has declined and the species riparian and riverine habitat has continued to be lost and degraded. The species is limited by its extremely specialized diet and threatened by decline in its prey of freshly moulted juvenile crayfish. Other threats include persecution and effects of invasive Zebra Mussels and Common Reed.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors
Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range extends from the southern Great Lakes region (southeastern Wisconsin, Michigan, southern Ontario, and western New York) to the Gulf Coast of the Florida panhandle, and east to southeastern Pennsylvania, western New Jersey, and northern Delmarva Peninsula, and west disjunctly to Missouri (extirpated, Johnson 2000) and Arkansas (Barbour 1971, Mount 1975, Mitchell 1994, Palmer and Braswell 1995, Harding 1997, Phillips et al. 1999, Hulse et al. 2001, Ernst 2002, White and White 2002, 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 represetned by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations) (see county distribution map in Gibbons and Dorcas 2004). Palmer and Braswell (1995) mapped over 100 collection sites in North Carolina alone.
Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 100,000. This snake is common in many areas with suitable habitat. It is common along many streams above the Fall Line in Alabama (Mount 1975); uncommon in most of the range in Illinois, but locally abundant in good habitat (Phillips et al. 1999); uncommon and local in most of the range in the Great Lakes region, but locally common where ideal habitat remains (Harding 1997).
Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats and declines appear to be greatest in the northern or peripheral parts of the range where habitat alteration has negatively affected crayfish populations (Gibbons and Dorcas 2004). Ernst and Ernst (2003) stated that water pollution and acid rain have combined to reduce crayfish populations in many parts of the eastern portion of the snake's range, and that this, along with drainage of wetlands, has eliminated the queen snake from many areas where it was once common. In Arkansas, eutrophication due to livestock or poultry waste runoff into streams is a possible threat, as is "overuse of water resources by human recreational activities" (Trauth et al. 2004). In the Great Lakes region, siltation from urban or agricultural runoff may reduce or eliminate crayfish populations (Harding 1997). Threats in Illinois include pollution that reduces crayfish populations and siltation of rocky stream bottoms (Phillips et al. 1999). Anecdotal evidence suggests that local populations in the northeastern United States are being reduced in numbers or extirpated as a result of adverse effects of stream degradation and pollution on crayfish (Mitchell 1994, Hulse et al. 2001, White and White 2002). Other potential threats include stream channelization and large impoundments (Mitchell 1994).
Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Currently, extent of occurrence, area of occupnacy, 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 <50% to Relatively Stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size appear to have declined in some parts of the range (Ernst and Ernst 2003), but the degree of decline is unknown. In the Great Lakes region, numbers have declined in many places due largely to habitat degradation; this species is now scarce or absent in many stream that once harbored healthy populations (Harding 1997). This species appears to be declining on the Delmarva Peninsula (White and White 2002).
Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information
(200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles))
The range extends from the southern Great Lakes region (southeastern Wisconsin, Michigan, southern Ontario, and western New York) to the Gulf Coast of the Florida panhandle, and east to southeastern Pennsylvania, western New Jersey, and northern Delmarva Peninsula, and west disjunctly to Missouri (extirpated, Johnson 2000) and Arkansas (Barbour 1971, Mount 1975, Mitchell 1994, Palmer and Braswell 1995, Harding 1997, Phillips et al. 1999, Hulse et al. 2001, Ernst 2002, White and White 2002, Ernst and Ernst 2003, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004, Trauth et al. 2004).
U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, WI, WV
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
||County Name (FIPS Code)
Van Buren (05141)*
New Castle (10003)
Jefferson Davis (28065)*,
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed
||Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
Upper West Branch Susquehanna (02050201)+,
Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+,
Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+,
Upper Chickasawhay (03170002)+*,
Upper Leaf (03170004)+*,
Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+*,
Middle Pearl-Silver (03180003)+*
Upper Genesee (04130002)+*,
Lower Genesee (04130003)+
Middle Allegheny-Tionesta (05010003)+,
Middle Allegheny-Redbank (05010006)+,
Lower Allegheny (05010009)+,
Lower Monongahela (05020005)+,
Upper Ohio (05030101)+,
Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*,
Upper Rock (07090001)+,
Middle White (11010004)+,
Upper White-Village (11010013)+,
Little Red (11010014)+*,
Dardanelle Reservoir (11110202)+*,
Lake Conway-Point Remove (11110203)+*,
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Reproduction Comments: Gives birth to 5-31 young, July-early September (Behler and King 1979, Ashton and Ashton 1981). Males sexually mature in 2 years, females in 3 years (Vogt 1981).
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: This snake occurs only where crayfish are present and fairly abundant, generally in moderate to fast-flowing streams with ample cover, wooded or open conditions, and good exposure to sun. Habitat has been characterized as follows: streams with vegetation along the shoreline, and rocky (north) or sandy (south) bottoms (Gibbons and Dorcas 2004); clean streams or marshes of open areas or woodlands (Ernst and Ernst 2003); small clear creeks with rocky or dandy bottoms, stream impoundments (Alabama; Mount 1975); woodland streams and cypress domes (Florida; Tennant 1997); exposed rocky river shorelines (Arkansas; Trauth et al. 2004); shallow rocky streams in agricultural, urban, and forested areas (Virginia; Mitchell 1994); shallow streams and rivers with plenty of sun, rocks, and overhanging shrubs and small trees (North Carolina; Palmer and Braswell 1995); unpolluted rocky woodland streams (Illinois; Phillips et al. 1999); small rocky streams in wooded areas or open pastures, swampy woods (Kentucky; Barbour 1971); clear, spring-fed streams with moderate to fast currents and rocky bottoms, in lowland hardwood forests and shrub-carr communities (Wisconsin; Vogt 1981). In some areas the habitat may include slow-moving streams, ditches, canals, freshwater marshes, or the edges of ponds or lakes (Mitchell 1994, Harding 1997, Hulse et al. 2001, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004), but this species generally is uncommon or absent from these habitats (Palmer and Braswell 1995, Minton 2001). This snake basks on branches overhanging the water. Sometimes it travels on land away from water. Refuges include burrows, rocks, logs, and other cover.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats almost exclusively crayfish; occasionally also small fishes, amphibian larvae, or other small animals (Branson and Baker 1974; Lee et al., 2004, Herpetological Review 35:72).
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Active May-September in north (Vogt 1981). Active day or night in south (Mount 1975), reportedly not active at night in Indiana (Minton 1972).
Length: 93 centimeters
Not yet assessed
Not yet assessed
Group Name: Small 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 does not apply to aquatic or wetland species); densely urbanized area dominated by buildings and pavement.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Data are limited to only a few species, but small colubrid snakes such as Diadophis punctatus (Fitch 1975) and Carphophis amoenus (Barbour et al. 1969, Clark 1970) generally have relatively small home ranges less than, or much less than, 1 ha. However, because even small snakes occasionally move large distances (e.g., up to at least 1.7 km in Diadophis punctatus, Fitch 1975). Also, these snakes tend to be secretive and may be easily overlooked or not recorded in areas where they do in fact occur. It seems unlikely that occupied locations separated by a gap of less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .2 km
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: This specs group is a somewhat arbitrary assemblage of small snakes that are believed to be among the most sedentary species of the family Colubridae.
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04Sep2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 04Sep2006
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.
Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of
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