Western Earth Snake; Virginia valeriae elegans; Snakes of Iowa; Western Earth Snake Variation
Western earth snakes, Virginia valeriae elegans, were known in Iowa from only three specimens and considered very rare until the present study. Intense effort to find them in the last two years produced specimens from only the lower Des Moines and Chariton River drainages. The snakes were found to be closely associated with timbered, rocky terrain near streams and to be potentially endangered where timber is permanently removed. Sampling showed two geographic areas in the Des Moines River drainage inhabited by this snake; specimens from the two areas were very similar morphologically. Iowa specimens usually lack the light vertebral stripe characteristic of the species in most of its range and have small, dark spots on the head and neck. Meristic variation is slight.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1973 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Christiansen, James L.
"The Distribution and Variation of the Western Earth Snake, Virginia valeriae elegans (Kennicott) in Iowa,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 80(4), 167-170.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol80/iss4/5