Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Just Another Nerodia?

I usually don't get all excited about subspecies, especially crappy ones based on a color phase, but the Lake Erie Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon insularum, is kind of an interesting beastie. 

They are federally threatened, and only occur on a few of the islands in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio and Canada.  Once at the brink of "extinction", due to concerted and heroic efforts in raising public education and awareness, as well as the introduction of a nonnative fish, they have rebounded with gusto and are now up for federal delisting. 

So how do you know if you have seen one?  Just find an ugly water snake on one of the islands.  Theoretically, they have a darker, more uniform color, but protection status is strictly based on the location of the animal.  You will find they actually come in all different colors and patterns. Yeah I told you they were bogus.

Bogus and cool.

Lake Erie Water Snake Nerodia sipedon insularum

While not a "classic" insularum, it is a darn good looking snake.  At least for stinky Nerodia.

So if you happen to make it out to one of the western Lake Erie islands, keep your eyes peeled for an insularum.  You might even end up face to face with one.


(you can all stop being shocked that buckeyeherper actually decided to post some Ohio herps for once...)

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