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Volume 80—2000

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Recent Mud Snake (Farancia abacura) Records for Oklahoma

Jack D. Tyler

Department of Biological Sciences, Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma 73505

There are few documentations for the mud snake, Farancia abacura, in Oklahoma. This southeastern lowland species is easily recognized by its glossy black upperparts invaded ventrolaterally by reddish triangles. It inhabits the swampy woodlands of extreme southeastern Oklahoma, where its principal prey, the eel-like salamander, Amphiuma tridactylum, lives. All Oklahoma occurrences except one DOKARRS (Distribution of Oklahoma Amphibians and Reptiles by Recorded Sightings; Oklahoma Biological Survey) record for Atoka County mapped by Secor and Carpenter (1), without details, are from the Mississippian Biotic District of McCurtain County. Seven specimens in the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (OMNH) date from 21 April 1946 (OMNH 24380) to 6 June 1968 (OMNH 33506-07). Other specimens there include OMNH numbers 25613, 26597, 30111, and 30706. M. R. Curd (2) collected a mud snake, now deposited in the Oklahoma State University Museum (OSU-R-135), 6 km south and 6 km east of Tom, on 18 June 1948. Webb (3) gave locations for three specimens housed at East Central University (EC-H-2350-52) in Ada.

To these should be added the following records from McCurtain County. On 18 July 1992, B . A. Heck photographed a road-killed mud snake 6 km south of Broken Bow (three slides on file, Cameron University Museum of Zoology [CUMZ]). D. Geurkink found the headless skeleton of an immature snake with a shard of skin attached (CUMZ 193) 9 km south and 3 km east of Eagletown on 1 May 1993; and on 27 July 1993. R. A. Bastarache (personal communication, 6 February 1998) found a female, with eight eggs, in moist debris under a rotting log 14 km east of Haworth (three photos on file, CUMZ). The nest habitat was wet bottomland hardwood forest dominated by Quercus nigra and Q. phellos, with several pools of water nearby. In August, Bastarache returned, found five juveniles, and captured two. These died and were preserved together (CUMZ 202). Webb (3) mentioned a birth on 20 September 1947 from an egg laid on 14 August, indicating a gestation period of about five weeks.


1.   Secor SM, Carpenter CC. Distribution maps of Oklahoma reptiles. OK Herpetol Soc Spec Publ 1984; 3:1-57.

2.   Curd MR. The salamander Amphiuma tridactylum in Oklahoma. Copeia 1950; 1950(4):324.

3.   Webb RG. Reptiles of Oklahoma. Norman (OK): University of Oklahoma Press. 1970. 370 p.

Received: March 27, 2000; Accepted: July 14, 2000.