SEMINATRIX PYGAEA (Black Swamp Snake) SIZE
CHARLES A. KEAN and TRACEY D. TUBERVILLE,
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802, USA.
The record total length (SVL + tail length) for Seminatrix pygaea given in Conant
and Collins (1991. Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians, Houghton Mifflin
Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 450 pp.) is 47.0 cm based on a specimen
described by Palmer and Paul (1963. Herpetologica 19:219-221). Their
specimen was a female with an incomplete tail, having only 18 subcaudals. The
record size given for S. pygaea in Ernst and Barbour (I 989. Snakes of Eastern
North America. George Mason University Press, Fairfax, Virginia) was
erroneously printed as 65.4 cm total length, but should have read 46.5 cm (Carl
Ernst, pers. comm.).
Here we report a gravid female S. pygaea (SREL specimen #3422) with a total
length of 55.5 cm (48.5 cm SVL + 9.0 cm tail; mass = 68.4 g), exceeding the
previous record by 8.5 cm. The female's length through subcaudal 18 was 51.2
This female and another gravid female S. pygaea (SREL specimen #3423) with a
total length of 44.4 cm (37.0 cm SVL + 7.4 cm tail; mass = 43.0 g) were
regurgitated simultaneously by a Lampropeltis getula (common kingsnake; 91.6
cm SVL, 12.7 cm tail) captured on 2 May 1994 at Ellenton Bay on the Savannah
River Site near Aiken, South Carolina. The kingsnake was released at the capture
We thank Roger Conant for providing the source of the original record and Mark
Mills for preserving the Seminatrix specimens. J. Whitfield Gibbons and Vincent
J. Burke made helpful comments on the manuscript. Research support and
manuscript preparation were provided by contract DE-AC09-765ROO-819
between the University of Georgia and United States Department of Energy.
SREL Reprint #1983
Kean, C. and T.D. Tuberville. 1995. Seminatrix pygaea (Black swamp snake)
size. Herpetological Review 26:103.
To request a reprint