Filling in the Gaps: Clonophis Kirtlandii in Illinois

Tristan D. Schramer, Taylor R. West

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Kirtland’s snake (Clonophis kirtlandii) is a small, enigmatic, and fossorial snake species endemic to the prairie peninsula region. In 2017, this species was reviewed by the USFWS for federal listing, but protection was deemed unwarranted due to insufficient knowledge regarding its natural history, distribution, population size, and threats. However, Kirtland’s snake remains listed as threatened, endangered, or critically imperiled in all eight states – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee – in which it occurs. A more credible assessment of the current and future status of Kirtland’s snake thus requires new and more rigorous information. The aim of this study is to (1) identify extant populations of Kirtland’s snake in Illinois, (2) expand our knowledge of habitat preferences, (3) investigate floral and faunal community associations, and (4) describe historic and current zoogeographic relationships. To accomplish these objectives, we will actively survey historic and potential localities for presence data, assess the habitat at extant sites, collect and identify crayfish and annelid specimens, and utilize niche modeling at various scales to delineate historic, contemporary, and future aspects of its distribution, evolution, and fate. Recent findings include a number of newly discovered populations that suggest Kirtland’s snake may be more widespread in Illinois than previously thought. However, little is understood of the governing principles behind the species’ sporadic persistence in the state. This investigation will provide key insights into the distribution and associations of Kirtland’s snake, thus providing guidance for future conservation management.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event2018 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference - Milwaukee, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2018Jan 31 2018
Conference number: 78


Conference2018 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • INHS


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