SREL Reprint #0885




Ecology of the Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) Using Mesic Habitats in South Carolina

Raymond D. Semlitsch and Gary B. Moran



The population ecology of the redbelly snake Storeria occipitomaculata from three mesic habitats in South Carolina was studied between 1978-1982.  Discrete pulses in seasonal activity were related to the drying cycle of the habitats.  Snakes presumably followed their main food resource (slugs) along a soil moisture gradient.  Young-of-the-year were first found in July or August and average 61 mm snout-vent length (SVL).  Testes of males and ovarian follicles of females began to enlarge during the 2nd year at SVLs of 118 mm (Males) and 126 mm (females).  First reproduction in both sexes presumably ocucrred at 2 years of age.  Mature females contained an average of nine enlarge ovarian follicles.  The number of follicles increased with SVL.  Males and females were not significantly different in SVL, but females were heavier and males had longer tails.  Sex ratio of the sample was 1:1.  We marked 61 individuals of the 249 that were captured during the study and recaptured four.  The low recapture rate suggests that population sizes were large or turnover was rapid.

A comparison between life history traits of Storeria occipitomaculata in South Carolina and Michigan showed that body size in South Carolina was smaller at birth and at maturity, but that litter size was slightly larger, than in Michigan.  Age at maturity, age at first reproduction and frequency of reproduction were the same in South Carolina and Michigan.


SREL Reprint #0885

Semlitsch, R.D. and G.B. Moran. 1984. Ecology of the redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) using mesic habitats in South Carolina. The American Midland Naturalist 111:33-40.

To request a reprint