Diadophis is obtained from the Greek native diadem which means "headband" and ophis which way "snake".

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punctatus is obtained from the Latin native punctum which way "spot". This describes the ventral spotting.


edwardsii to be assigned to respect George Edwards, an English ornithologist.

Vernacular Names:

Collared snake, fodder snake, king snake, small black-and-red snake, ring snake, ringed snake.

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Average Length:

10 - 15 in. (25.4 - 38 cm)

Virginia document Length:

15.7 in. (40cm)

Record length:

27.8 in. (70.6 cm)

Systematic: Originally described as Coluber punctatus by Carolus Linnaeus in 1755 based on a specimen sent to the by Alexander Garden from southern Carolina. The type locality was minimal to Charleston, southern Carolina, by Schmidt (1953). The genus Dladophis was very first used for this species by Baird and Girard (1853). All authors in the Virginia literature have actually used the current nomenclature. Two subspecies happen in Virginia: D. Punctatus punctatus (Linnaeus) and also D. Punctatus edwardsii (Merrem).

Diadophis punctatus punctatus (Linnaeus) is the initial subspecies. Diadophis punctatus edwardsii (Merrem) was first described as Coluber edwardsii by Blasius Merrem in 1820, based upon a specimen gathered by wilhelm Bartram in "Pennsylvania." The type locality was limited to the vicinity the Philadelphia by Schmidt (1953). Barbour(1919) very first relegated this kind to a subspecies the D. Punctatus.

Description: A small, slim snake reaching a maximum total length that 706 mm (27.8 inches) (Conant and also Collins, 1991). In Virginia, maximum recognized snout-vent size (SVL) is 400 mm (15.7 inches) and maximum complete length is 495 mm (19.5 inches). In this study, tail length/total length averaged 21.3 ± 2.1% (15.7-29.1, n = 323).

Scutellation: Ventrals 132-172 (ave. = 154.1 ± 7.7, n = 353); subcaudals 35-68 (ave. = 53.4 ± 6.0, n = 322); ventrals + subcaudals 177-229 (ave. = 207.5 ± 11.4, n = 322); dorsal scales smooth, scale rows 15 (100%, n = 337) in ~ midbody; anal bowl divided; infralabials 8/8 (71.2%, n = 340), 7/7 (14.7%), or other combinations that 6-10 (14.1%); supralabials 8/8 (63.7%, n = 339), 7/7 (19.5%), 7/8 or 8/7 (14.4%), or other combinations that 6-9 (2.4%); loreal present; preoculars 2/2; postoculars 2/2; temporals usually 1 +1/1 + 1 (94.1%, n = 337), 1+2/1+2 (3.2%), or various other combinations the 1 and also 2 (2.7%).

Coloration and also Pattern: body uniformly bluish black color to slate gray or brownish, through a cream to yellow collar throughout neck; collar complete or broken (or constricted) at middorsal line; venter cream come yellow and immaculate, or patterned v a single midventral heat of small black clues to huge half-moon-shaped spots; head black through white supralabials and also a white chin. Some specimens have black point out in the labial scales and on the chin. The head is flattened in people from the mountains and rounded in those native the Piedmont and coastal Plain.

Subspecies: Diadophis punctatus edwardsii usually has a complete collar, and also a venter the is either completely unpatterned or with number of to numerous little black spots follow me the midventral line. Diadophis punctatus punctatus has a broken collar and also a solitary row of large, black half-moons along the midventral line. Intergrades occur in parts of east Virginia and these subspecies differ in size and also scutellation (see "Geographic Variation").


Northern Ring-necked Snake

Southern Ring-necked Snake

Sexual Dimorphism: There room no sexual distinctions in shade or pattern. Adult masculine SVL was 183-358 mm (ave. = 262.3 ± 43.0, n = 111) and also female SVL to be 219-400 mm (ave. = 300.0 ± 49.7, n = 109). Sex-related dimorphism index was 0.14. Tail length/total length averaged higher in males (22.3 ± 1.7%, 16.6-29.1, n = 174) than in females (20.2 ± 2.0%, 15.7-28.8, n = 147). Number of ventral scales was slightly greater in females (138-172, ave. = 156.0 ± 6.4, n = 161) than males (132-165, ave. = 150.7 ±7.1, n = 190), whereas variety of subcaudal scales to be slightly higher in males (35-68, ave. = 54.8 ± 6.0, n = 171) than females (37-64, ave. = 51.8 ± 5.7, n = 149). Number of ventral + subcaudal scale was comparable between sexes (males 177-223, ave. = 205.5 ± 11.8, n = 171; females 179-229, ave. = 209.7 ± 10.6, n = 149).

Juveniles: Hatchlings space patterned as adults however the human body is uniformly colored black or blue-black and also the venter is normally white. At hatching, juveniles to be 91-128 mm SVL (ave. = 107.5 ± 11.6, n = 18), 108-159 mm complete length (ave. = 131.7 ± 16.4), and also 0.6-1.1 g body mass (ave. = 0.84 ± 0.12).

Confusing Species: Diadophis punctatus is usually figured out correctly because of the uniformly fancy body and head and the glowing collar throughout the neck. Juveniles have the right to be mistaken for neonates that Storeria dekayi, Storeria occipitomaculata, and also Haldea striatula, but every one of these have keeled scales.

Geographic Variation: Diadophis punctatus reached larger average SVLs in the upper and lower Ridge and Valley regions (257.1 ± 62.0 mm, 93-390, n = 118; 257.1 ± 58.9 mm, 137-340, n = 55, respectively) than in the top Piedmont (226.6 ± 62.2 mm, 92-320, n = 22), lower Piedmont (209.0 ± 74.0 mm, 93-318, n = 26), and southeastern coastal Plain (208.6 ± 37.9 mm, 130-295, n = 47). The largest Ring-necked line were discovered in the Appalachian Plateau an ar (ave. SVL = 265.0 ±72.4 mm, 135-400, n = 21). Variety of ventral scales enhanced from an median low of 142.5 ± 5.8 (132-160, n = 47) in the southeastern coastal Plain come an median high that 159.2 ± 4.9 (151-170, n = 21) ~ above the Appalachian Plateau. A similar trend arisen in variety of ventrals + subcaudals (SE coastal Plain ave. = 185.7 ± 5.7,177-210, n = 46; Appalachian Plateau ave. = 216.7 ± 4.5, 210-226, n = 20).

The highest frequencies of snake with broken collars (D. P. Punctatus) were in the southeastern coastal Plain: 51.1% that 47 broken, 27.7% constricted, and 21.3% complete. Large, black color half-moons top top the venter predominated in the southeastern seaside Plain sample (83.0% of 47). The remainder that the people in this sample had tiny spots or none at all (17.0%). In the coastal Plain sample (n = 23) north of the James River, 13.0% had damaged collars and also 87.0% had finish collars. In this area, 27.8% the 18 had big half-moons ~ above the venter and 72.2% had small spots or to be immaculate. Automatically west that the loss Line in the lower Piedmont, 3.8% the 26 snakes had actually constricted collars and also 96.2% had finish collars. Huge spots top top the venter occurred in 26.9% that the sample; 73.1% had small spots or to be immaculate. The zone that intergradation extends native the northern and middle peninsulas south-westward to an area incorporated by Mecklenburg county on the west and also Southampton ar on the east. Populaces in this zone created individuals that confirmed combinations of all the personality variations. Ring-necked Snakes uncovered north and also west that this zone to be D. P. Edwardsii. Snake southeast of this zone were D. P. Punctatus. In their analysis, Blem and also Roeding (1983) said that, except for the urban of Suffolk, Norfolk, and also Virginia Beach, the intergrade zone was in the shape of a triangle formed by the James River, the loss Line, and also the southerly Virginia border. Conant (1946) figured out that Ring-necked snakes in southeastern Virginia were true D. P. Punctatus and also that there was an intergrade zone top top Delmarva and also in southern new Jersey. Of the 2 specimens native the eastern Shore in Virginia, the collar was finish in one and constricted in the other, and also the ventral fads of both confirmed a series of little black dots, for this reason supporting Conant"s analysis. The entire intergrade zone in between these two subspecies has yet come be fully studied.

Biology: Ring-necked Snakes space secretive and also are commonly found associated with hardwood or blended hardwood-pine forests. Castle are residents of sheet litter and the top soil horizon community. They are rarely encountered in the open; most are found under all varieties of objects, consisting of logs, rocks, boards, and also debris. Diadophis punctatus is discovered in city and farming areas, and also in mixed forest types. Diadophis p. Punctatus typically occurs wherein some degree of humidity is present, such together in junk piles and also under logs in moist lowlands and floodplains. Hutchison (1956) found D. P. Edwardsii in the twilight zone that caves. This subspecies is frequently found under rocks in dried habitats in the forest, such together on roadcuts and also exposed rocky locations in the mountains. Part surface movement occurs in ~ night, as numerous ringneck snakes have actually been killed on roads by vehicles during that time. Young name (1976) recorded only 15 ring-necked snakes among the 545 snakes observed along the Skyline journey in Shenandoah nationwide Park and also Blue Ridge Parkway in a 3-year period. Clifford (1976) found only one D. Punctatus in a 4-year period in Amelia County. This types is recognized to be energetic 10 April through 20 October in Virginia, yet may be found at various other times that the year depending on the weather. The activity season is as lot as 2 months much shorter in the mountains than that is along the coast. Body temperatures the 21 individuals found in April and also July under exposed rocks in the mountains were 18.6-31.0°C (ave. = 24.1 ± 3.2); ambient temperatures to be 17.2-18.0°C (ave. = 17.6 ± 0.4, n = 18).

Three food types form the majority of the diet of this snake: earthworms, salamanders, and also lizards. The following prey have been tape-recorded for Virginia D. Punctatus: earthworms, northern Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata), Red-backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus), White-spotted Slimy Salamanders (Plethodon cylindraceus), northern Slimy Salamanders (Plethodon glutinosus), and little Brown Skinks (Scincella lateralis). Uhler et al. (1939) found E. Bislineata and also P. Cinereus in four of 5 specimens examined from the George Washington national Forest. The ants and also other arthropods noted in Uhler et al. (1939) were most likely the continues to be of salamander stomach contents. Ernst and Barbour (1989b) summary the known prey of this species in east North America. Vertebrate food are eliminated by constriction. Known predators the Virginia Ring-necked line are north Black Racers (Coluber constrictor) and free-ranging domestic cats (Mitchell and Beck, 1992). In a long-term study of D. Punctatus in Kansas, Fitch (1975) uncovered that great-horned owls (Bubo virginianus), falken (Buteo spp.), four varieties of snakes (Agkistrodon contortrix, C. Constrictor, Crotalus horridus, Lampropeltis triangulum), and also Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) had taken Ring-necked Snakes as prey.

Diadophis punctatus is oviparous, laying 2-7 egg (ave. = 4.2 ± 1.5, n = 20) under rocks, and also in and under logs whereby the substrate is moist. A female native Fairfax ar laid the maximum well-known clutch dimension of 10 egg (C. H. Ernst, pers. Comm.). The variety of eggs is positively regarded the dimension of the mrs (Fitch, 1975). Fitch (1975) taped spring and also fall mating dates during his study in Kansas. Copulation to be observed in the ar in Virginia top top 16 September (C. A. Pague, pers. Comm.). Eight egg-laying dates were recorded in between 16 June and also 21 July. Natural egg-laying to be observed in Lee ar on 8 July (C. A. Pague, pers. Comm.). Ring-necked line eggs are smooth, and also averaged 27.7 ± 6.2 x 8.8 ± 0.7 mm (length 22.2-36.0, width 7.9-9.3, n = 5) in size and 1.32 g (1.30-1.33, n = 2) wet mass. Laboratory incubation time to be 45-58 days and recorded hatching days were between 2 and also 30 August. The smallest mature female in the Virginia sample was 218 mm SVL; the the smallest mature male was 180 mm. Groves (1978) report that one of three eggs laid by a woman from web page County included twin hatchlings. The population ecology that this species in Virginia has actually not to be studied, however Fitch (1975) estimated populace densities of 719-1,849 individuals per hectare in Kansas. Populations of D. Punctatus in Virginia show up to be bigger in the mountains than in the Piedmont and seaside Plain, however this might be a role of the variety of aggregation website in the former contrasted to the latter. Fitch (1975) detailed that Ring-necked Snakes do not constantly use website that enable us to catch them, as many snakes look for shelter beneath mats of vegetation.

Ring-necked Snakes execute not bite when caught however will relax foul-smelling feces and also musk native anal glands. Exaggeration tail coiling, a defensive actions that detracts a potential predator far from the head, is watched in subspecies that have the ventral surface of the tail brightly colored (Conant, 1975; Fitch, 1975). This actions has no been viewed in Virginia D. Punctatus, although the tail is frequently partially coiled when these snakes space captured. Fitch (1975) uncovered that many movements make by ringneck snake in Kansas were much less than 250 m in length. This suggests that this snakes maintain huge home arrays for your body size.

Remarks: Other usual names room fodder snake (Dunn, 1915a); typical ring neck line (Carroll, 1950); and ring snake, baby king snake, red-belly snake, and yellow-belly ring line (Linzey and also Clifford, 1981). Linzey and Clifford (1981) provided that some world consider D. Punctatus to be the young ofLampropeltis getula, whose crossbands are included as lock grow. This authors correctly allude out the Eastern Kingsnakes room born with the sample they save for life.

The lack of locality documents on the reduced portions of the eastern Shore and middle peninsula is puzzling. Is this a role of collecting effort, negative luck, or true zoogeographical patterns?