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|plain-bellied water snake|
This species ranges through much of the southeastern United States, from Michigan to Delaware in the north, and Texas to northern Florida in the south, but it is absent from the Florida peninsula and the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains.
Adults are 24–40 inches (76–122 cm) in total length, and can reach up to 55 inches in some states such as Kansas.
It gets its common name because it has no patterning on its underside. Subspecies can vary in color from brown, to gray, to olive green, with dark-colored blotching down the back, and an underside that is yellow, brown, red, or green.
It is quick to vigorously defend itself by striking repeatedly and flattening its head making it look like a cottonmouth, which is why it has been commonly mistaken for a venomous snake.
This species bears live young (ovoviviparous) like other North American water snakes and garter snakes. In North Carolina and Georgia, the plain-bellied water snake breeds from April to June, and broods of 5-27 young are born in August to October. In 2014 a captive female produced two healthy offspring via parthenogenesis.
These six subspecies of N. erythrogaster have been historically recognized, including the nominotypical subspecies. However, in 2010, Makowsky, et. al. determined that there was "little support for the recognized subspecies as either independent evolutionary lineages or geographically circumscribed units and conclude that although some genetic and niche differentiation has occurred, most populations assigned to N. erythrogaster appear to represent a single, widespread species."
- Nerodia erythrogaster alta (Conant, 1963) - plainbelly water snake
- Nerodia erythrogaster bogerti (Conant, 1953) - Bogert's water snake
- Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster (Forster, 1771) - redbelly water snake
- Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster (Conant, 1949) - yellowbelly water snake
- Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta (Conant, 1949) - copperbelly water snake
- Nerodia erythrogaster transversa (Hallowell, 1852) - blotched water snake
- Hammerson, G.A.; Frost, D.R. & Santos-Barrera, G. (2007). "Nerodia erythrogaster". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2007: e.T63854A12722399. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T63854A12722399.en. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- Smith, Jules D. (20 September 2015). "Captive Snake Gives Second Virgin Birth in Two Months". themarketbusiness.com. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
- Makowsky, Robert; Marshall, Jr., John C.; McVay, John; Chippindale, Paul T.; Rissler, Leslie J. (2010). "Phylogeographic analysis and environmental niche modeling of the plain-bellied watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster) reveals low levels of genetic and ecological differentiation". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 55 (3): 985–995. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.03.012. PMC 3322375. PMID 20302955.
- "Nerodia erythrogaster (FORSTER, 1771)". The Reptile Database, reptile-database.org.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nerodia erythrogaster.|
- Plainbelly Watersnake - Nerodia erythrogaster Species account from the Iowa Reptile and Amphibian Field Guide
- Animal Diversity Web: Nerodia erythrogaster
- Georgia Wildlife: Nerodia erythrogaster
- North Carolina Herps: Nerodia erythrogaster
- Battle with Huge Catfish
- Forster, J.R. 1771. in Bossu, J.-B. 1771. Travels through that Part of North America Formerly Called Louisiana. Translated by John [sic] Reinhold Forster, F.A.S. ...with Notes Relative Chiefly to Natural History...by the Translator...Vol. I. T. Davies. London. viii + 407 pp. (Coluber erythrogaster, p. 364.)
- 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 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Natrix erythrogaster, pp. 142–144 + Plate 20 + Map 103.)
- Schmidt, K.P., and D.D. Davis. 1941. Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York. 365 pp. (Natrix erythrogaster, pp. 224–225.)
- Smith, H.M., and E.D. Brodie Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden Press. New York. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3 (paperback). (Nerodia erythrogaster, pp. 154–155.)
- Wright, A.H., and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca and London. 1,050 pp. (in 2 volumes) (Natrix erythrogaster, pp. 477–490, Figures 141.-143., Map 39.)