Midwestern worm snake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Midwestern worm snake
Midwestern worm snake.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Dipsadidae
Genus: Carphophis
Species: C. amoenus
Subspecies: C. a. helenae
Trinomial name
Carphophis amoenus helenae
Kennicott, 1859[1]
  • Celuta helenae
    Kennicott, 1859
  • Carphophis amoena var. Helenae
    Jan, 1865
  • Carphophis amoena helenae
    Conant, 1938[2]

The midwestern worm snake, Carphophis amoenus helenae, is a subspecies of C. amoenus, a nonvenomous, colubrid snake, endemic to the Midwest and Southern United States.[3][4]


The subspecific name, helenae, is in honor of "Miss Helen Tennison", Robert Kennicott's cousin, who collected specimens for him in Mississippi.[5][6]

Geographic range[edit]

The subspecies ranges from southern Ohio to northern Georgia in the east and from southern Illinois to eastern Louisiana in the west.[7]


Adults are small and wormlike, rarely growing longer than 9.8 in (25 cm) in total length. It is plain dark brown on top and light pink on its underside.[3]


The midwestern worm snake is fossorial. It spends its life burrowing in moist soil or under the leaf litter searching for soft-bodied prey, with a preference for earthworms. This secretive snake prefers mesic deciduous forest.[3][4]


  1. ^ ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). www.itis.gov.
  2. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ a b c "Midwestern Wormsnake". ODNR Division of Wildlife. Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Snakes in Alabama". Outdoor Alabama. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ Beltz, Ellin. 2006. Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained. http://ebeltz.net/herps/biogappx.html.
  6. ^ Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins; Michael Grayson. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. xiii + 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Helen T.", p. 120.)
  7. ^ Conant, R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Houghton MIfflin. Boston. xviii + 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Carphophis amoenus helenae, p. 175 + Map 131.)

Further reading[edit]

  • Kennicott, R. 1859. Notes on Coluber calligaster of Say, and a description of new species of Serpents in the collection of the North Western University of Evanston, Ill[inois]. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia [11]: 98-100. (Celuta helenæ, p. 100.)