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Graham's Crawfish Snake (Regina grahamii)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Colubroidea

Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Natricinae
Genus: Regina
Species: Regina grahamii

Regina grahamii Baird & Girard, 1853: 47

Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2022. Regina grahamii. The Reptile Database. Accessed on 12 October 2019.
Hammerson, G.A. 2007. IUCN: Regina grahamii (Least Concern). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T63885A12717368. DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T63885A12717368.en

Vernacular names
English: Graham's Crayfish Snake

Regina grahamii, commonly known as Graham's crayfish snake, is a species of nonvenomous semiaquatic snake in the subfamily Natricinae of the family Colubridae. The species is endemic to the central United States.


The specific name, grahamii, is in honor of Lt. Col. James Duncan Graham, U.S. Topographical Engineers, who collected the type specimen.[2][3]
Common names

Additional common names for R. grahamii include Arkansas water snake, Graham's leather snake, Graham's queen snake, Graham's snake, Graham's water snake, prairie water adder, prairie water snake, and striped moccasin.[4]

R. grahamii is a medium-sized snake, measuring an average of 18–28 inches (46–71 cm) in total length (including tail), but can grow up to almost 4 feet long in some cases. The maximum recorded total length is 47 inches (119 cm).[5]

It is usually a brown or gray color with an occasional faint mid-dorsal stripe. Its lateral stripes are typically cream, white tan, or light yellow and located from the belly up to the fourth scale row. The belly is typically the same color as the lateral stripes and is unmarked, with the exception of a row of dark dots down the center (rare in specimens).

There are no subspecies of Graham's crayfish snake, Regina grahamii, which are recognized.

Regina grahamii occurs along the margins of mud-bottom marshes, oxbow lakes, rivers and streams. It particularly likes roadside ditches abundant with crayfish. Graham's crayfish snake typically hides under rocks, logs, and other debris at the waters edge and also spend much time in crayfish burrows.

Graham's crayfish snake feeds chiefly upon crayfish, especially recently molted crayfish. It is also reported to eat fish and amphibians.
Temperament and defense

The primary defenses for this species, Regina grahamii, are camouflage and nocturnal behavior. When alarmed, especially while basking, it will make a quick escape into the water and hide. This species is relatively docile, but it may flatten out and musk if captured.

Adult females of R. grahamii bear live young in broods of 10–15. Each newborn is about 8 inches (about 20 cm) in total length (including tail).[6]
In captivity

R. grahamii is difficult to keep in captivity, usually refusing all food and developing skin lesions easily. Only experienced snake owners should attempt to raise this species.
Geographic range

R. grahamii is found in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.[4]

Hammerson, G.A. (2007). "Regina grahamii ". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T63885A12717368. Downloaded on 12 October 2018.
Beltz, Ellin (2006). Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America — Explained.
Beolens, Bo, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Regina grahami, p. 105.)
Wright, Albert Hazen, and Anna Allen Wright (1957). Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Two Volumes. Ithaca and London: Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press. 1,105 pp. (Graham's water snake, Natrix grahami, pp. 490–493, Figure 144, Map 40).
Conant, Roger (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company. xviii + 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback).(GRAHAM'S WATER SNAKE Natrix grahami, p. 150 + Plate 21 + Map 110).

Schmidt, Karl P., and D. Dwight Davis (1941). Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. New York, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 365 pp. (Graham's Water Snake.—Natrix grahamii, pp. 210–211, Figure 67).

External links

Graham's Crayfish Snake on Reptiles and Amphibians of Iowa.

Further reading

Baird, S.F., and C. Girard (1853). Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part I.–Serpents. Washington, District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution. xvi + 172 pp. ("Regina Grahamii, B. & G.", new species, pp. 47–48).
Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King (1979). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 743 pp. ISBN 0-394-50824-6. (Regina grahami, pp. 646–647 + Plate 519).
Boulenger, G.A. (1893). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families ... Colubridæ Aglyphæ, part. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Tropidonotus grahami, pp. 240–241).
Conant, Roger, and William Bridges (1939). What Snake Is That?: A Field Guide to the Snakes of the United States East of the Rocky Mountains. (with 108 drawings by Edmond Malnate). New York and London: D. Appleton-Century Company. Frontispiece map + viii + 163 pp. + Plates A-C, 1-32. (Natrix grahamii, p. 94 + Plate 16, figure 46).
Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, Joseph T. Collins (2016). Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. xiv + 494 pp., 47 plates, 207 figures. ISBN 978-0-544-12997-9. (Regina grahamii, p. 422 + Plate 41 + Figure 207 on p. 494).
Smith, H.M., and Edmund D. Brodie, Jr. (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York, New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Regina grahami, pp. 156–157).
Stejneger, Leonard, and Thomas Barbour (1917). A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 125 pp. (Natrix grahamii, p. 95).


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