Virginia valeriae - Baird and Girard, 1853
Smooth Earthsnake
Other English Common Names: Smooth Earth Snake
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Virginia valeriae Baird and Girard, 1853 (TSN 174151)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100943
Element Code: ARADB39020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Snakes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Colubridae Virginia
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 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: Virginia valeriae
Taxonomic Comments: Subspecies pulchra was proposed as a distinct species by Collins (1991), but he did not present supporting data. Molecular data indicate that V. valeriae is closely related to Tropidoclonion lineatum; perhaps the latter should be placed in the genus Virginia, with V. striatula being moved to the resurrected genus Haldea (Lawson 1985); myological data do not conform with the molecular data and perhaps a better arrangement would be to expand the genus Virginia to incorporate T. lineatum (see Lawson 1985).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Sep2006
Global Status Last Changed: 30Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)

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 (S5), Arkansas (S4), Delaware (S1), District of Columbia (S4), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S4?), Illinois (S4), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S3), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S4), Maryland (S4S5), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (SNR), New Jersey (SU), North Carolina (S3), Ohio (S2), Oklahoma (S4), Pennsylvania (SH), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S3)

Other Statuses

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 New Jersey and Pennsylvania to northern Florida, and west to southern Iowa, northeastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and central Texas; an isolated population occurs in peninsular Florida (Conant and Collins 1991, Powell et al. 1992, Ernst and Ernst 2003).

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations).

Population Size Comments: Adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 100,000. This snake is secretive and sometimes hard to detect, bit it is locally common in suitable habitat (e.g. Palmer and Braswell 1995, Phillips et al. 1999).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats are known. Locally, this species is perhaps threatened in some areas by deforestation (Mitchell 1991), and some populations appear to have been eliminated by residential, industrial, and agricultural development (Hulse et al. 2001).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Current trend is not documented, but 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%

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) The range extends from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to northern Florida, and west to southern Iowa, northeastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and central Texas; an isolated population occurs in peninsular Florida (Conant and Collins 1991, Powell et al. 1992, Ernst and Ernst 2003).

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, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

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)
DE Kent (10001), New Castle (10003), Sussex (10005)
IA Appanoose (19007), Clarke (19039), Dallas (19049), Madison (19121), Polk (19153), Van Buren (19177), Warren (19181)
KS Anderson (20003), Atchison (20005), Douglas (20045), Franklin (20059), Jackson (20085), Jefferson (20087), Johnson (20091), Leavenworth (20103), Linn (20107), Miami (20121), Shawnee (20177), Wyandotte (20209)
MD Garrett (24023)
NJ Cumberland (34011)
OH Adams (39001), Athens (39009), Hocking (39073)*, Scioto (39145)*, Vinton (39163)
PA Berks (42011)*, Bucks (42017)*, Cameron (42023), Chester (42029)*, Clearfield (42033), Fayette (42051)*, Montgomery (42091)*, Potter (42105), Venango (42121), Warren (42123)
VA Highland (51091)
WV Grant (54023)*, Pendleton (54071), Pocahontas (54075), Preston (54077), Randolph (54083), Tucker (54093)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*, Schuylkill (02040203)+*, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Broadkill-Smyrna (02040207)+, Upper West Branch Susquehanna (02050201)+, Sinnemahoning (02050202)+, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+*, Chester-Sassafras (02060002)+, Choptank (02060005)+, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+*, Western Lower Delmarva (02080109)+, Upper James (02080201)+
05 Upper Allegheny (05010001)+, Middle Allegheny-Tionesta (05010003)+, Cheat (05020004)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Hocking (05030204)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+
07 Middle Des Moines (07100004)+, North Raccoon (07100006)+, Lake Red Rock (07100008)+, Lower Des Moines (07100009)+
10 Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Middle Kansas (10270102)+, Delaware (10270103)+, Lower Kansas (10270104)+, Thompson (10280102)+, Upper Chariton (10280201)+, Upper Marais Des Cygnes (10290101)+, Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Mating may occur in spring and fall (see Green and Pauley 1987). Gives birth to litter of 2-18 young, late July-September (Behler and King 1979, Barbour 1971) (mid-August through mid-September in Pennsylvania and West Virginia).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Habitats include deciduous woods, exposed rocky slopes in mixed deciduous-pine associations, pine woodland, grassy slopes with rocks in areas of deciduous forest, mesic hammocks, moist woodland along floodplains, wooded areas around marshes and other damp places, rocky sparse woods and forest edge, old fields, vacant lots, and wooded or brushy residential areas. In daytime, this secretive snake often shelters under logs, rocks, or other cover. It may aggregate during hibernation.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly earthworms, also slugs and other small invertebrates.
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Active from April to October-November in the north (Collins 1982, Barbour 1971, Green and Pauley 1987), also active during mild winter weather in Texas but usually not seen in summer (Tennant 1984). Surface activity peaks after heavy rains.
Length: 34 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
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
Date: 21Sep2004
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.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 07Sep2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 07Sep2006
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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