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Agkistrodon piscivorus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA VIPERIDAE

Scientific Name: Agkistrodon piscivorus
Species Authority: (Lacepede, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English Cottonmouth

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the United States. It range extends from southeastern Virginia (near junction of Appomattox and James rivers) to southern Florida, west to central Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and southeastern Kansas (Triplett, 1991, Herpetological Review 22: 135), and north in the middle Mississippi River drainage to southern Illinois (Mitchell 1994, Phillips et al. 1999, Werler and Dixon 2000, Minton 2001, Campbell and Lamar 2004).
Countries:
Native:
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations) (e.g., see dot maps of collection sites in Dundee and Rossman 1989, Palmer and Braswell 1995, Werler and Dixon 2000, Campbell and Lamar 2004, and Trauth et al. 2004). The adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 100,000. This snake is common in many parts of its large range. Population trends are undocumented, but its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size are probably relatively stable or declining at a rate of less than 10% over 10 years or three generations. Locally, declines have occurred with habitat loss and degradation. For example, in Virginia, this species decreased in abundance in the 1980s and 1990s (Blem and Blem 1995), and it has been extirpated from some localities (Mitchell 1994). However, cottonmouths remain locally common in even in regions where some declines have occurred.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This snake occurs in a wide range of aquatic and wetland habitats: swamps, sloughs, delta bayous, bayheads, ponds and streams in pine flatwoods, pine-palmetto forest, offshore keys, marshes, river bottoms, lowland floodplains, tidal stream courses, dune and beach areas, clear upland brooks, drainage ditches in some southern cities, brackish waters, and sometimes salt marshes (Ernst and Ernst 2003, Campbell and Lamar 2004). Cottonmouths may aggregate under waterbird rookeries. Hibernation sites include rocky wooded hillsides, in crayfish burrows, under rotting stumps or other cover, or in burrows of mammals (e.g., beavers, muskrats) or tortoises.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): From a range-wide perspective, no major threats are known. Locally, threats include wetland drainage for agriculture, residential and commercial development, and forestry, and disturbance and direct killing by humans (Blem and Blem 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Many occurrences are protected in state parks, national parks, wildlife refuges, and national forests.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Agkistrodon piscivorus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 November 2014.
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