Regina septemvittata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Regina septemvittata
Species Authority: (Say, 1825)
Common Name/s:
English Queen Snake

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)
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 occurs widely in the east of the United States, and extends into southern Canada. Its range extends from the southern Great Lakes region (southeastern Wisconsin, Michigan, southern Ontario, and western New York) to the Gulf Coast of the Florida panhandle, and east to southeastern Pennsylvania, western New Jersey, and northern Delmarva Peninsula, and west disjunctly to Missouri (apparently extirpated, Johnson 2000) and Arkansas (Barbour 1971, Mount 1975, Mitchell 1994, Palmer and Braswell 1995, Harding 1997, Phillips et al. 1999, Hulse et al. 2001, Ernst 2002, White and White 2002, Ernst and Ernst 2003, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004, Trauth et al. 2004).
Canada; 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) (see county distribution map in Gibbons and Dorcas 2004). Palmer and Braswell (1995) mapped over 100 collection sites in North Carolina alone. The adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 100,000. This snake is common in many areas with suitable habitat. It is common along many streams above the Fall Line in Alabama (Mount 1975); uncommon in most of the range in Illinois, but locally abundant in good habitat (Phillips et al. 1999); uncommon and local in most of the range in the Great Lakes region, but locally common where ideal habitat remains (Harding 1997). Its area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size appear to have declined in some parts of the range (Ernst and Ernst 2003), but the degree of decline is unknown. In the Great Lakes region, numbers have declined in many places due largely to habitat degradation; this species is now scarce or absent in many stream that once harbored healthy populations (Harding 1997). This species appears to be declining on the Delmarva Peninsula (White and White 2002). Currently, 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.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This snake occurs only where crayfish are present and fairly abundant, generally in moderate to fast-flowing streams with ample cover, wooded or open conditions, and good exposure to sun. Habitat has been characterized as follows: streams with vegetation along the shoreline, and rocky (north) or sandy (south) bottoms (Gibbons and Dorcas 2004); clean streams or marshes of open areas or woodlands (Ernst and Ernst 2003); small clear creeks with rocky or dandy bottoms, stream impoundments (Alabama; Mount 1975); woodland streams and cypress domes (Florida; Tennant 1997); exposed rocky river shorelines (Arkansas; Trauth et al. 2004); shallow rocky streams in agricultural, urban, and forested areas (Virginia; Mitchell 1994); shallow streams and rivers with plenty of sun, rocks, and overhanging shrubs and small trees (North Carolina; Palmer and Braswell 1995); unpolluted rocky woodland streams (Illinois; Phillips et al. 1999); small rocky streams in wooded areas or open pastures, swampy woods (Kentucky; Barbour 1971); clear, spring-fed streams with moderate to fast currents and rocky bottoms, in lowland hardwood forests and shrub-carr communities (Wisconsin; Vogt 1981). In some areas the habitat may include slow-moving streams, ditches, canals, freshwater marshes, or the edges of ponds or lakes (Mitchell 1994, Harding 1997, Hulse et al. 2001, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004), but this species generally is uncommon or absent from these habitats (Palmer and Braswell 1995, Minton 2001). This snake basks on branches overhanging the water. Sometimes it travels on land away from water. Refuges include burrows, rocks, logs, and other cover.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats and declines appear to be greatest in the northern or peripheral parts of the range where habitat alteration has negatively affected crayfish populations (Gibbons and Dorcas 2004). Ernst and Ernst (2003) stated that water pollution and acid rain have combined to reduce crayfish populations in many parts of the eastern portion of the snake's range, and that this, along with drainage of wetlands, has eliminated the Queen Snake from many areas where it was once common. In Arkansas, eutrophication due to livestock or poultry waste runoff into streams is a possible threat, as is "overuse of water resources by human recreational activities" (Trauth et al. 2004). In the Great Lakes region, siltation from urban or agricultural runoff may reduce or eliminate crayfish populations (Harding 1997). Threats in Illinois include pollution that reduces crayfish populations and siltation of rocky stream bottoms (Phillips et al. 1999). Anecdotal evidence suggests that local populations in the northeastern United States are being reduced in numbers or extirpated as a result of adverse effects of stream degradation and pollution on crayfish (Mitchell 1994, Hulse et al. 2001, White and White 2002). Other potential threats include stream channelization and large impoundments (Mitchell 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Many occurrences are in protected areas.
Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Regina septemvittata. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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