Well its getting close to kick off time at the park where Mike Tony and I work. the upcoming weekend promises to be quite a buzz with all of our scheduled programs for scouts and the general public – our most prized of all clients. This weekend 4/28/2012 will be nonstop for us all Herp related. To make sure we are better prepared it customary for members of our staff to legally obtain some native species from to serve as props for the programs. All animals are also customarily released back into their natural habitats unharmed soon after.
The morning started out cold and rainy but Mike suggested we go out and search anyway before he was scheduled to work. So wihout too much twist of the arm I agreed and we headed out to some familiar sights that usually produce a few small snakes and possibly some decent phibs.
We moved along flipping previously laid cover boards, the artifical hides made from plywood, finding mostly very dry substrate and ants and a few other insects. On the second to last board Mike yells out “Mark!! Come check this out!!!” I initially thought what possibly could he be so excited about. So I made my way over to Mike and there he was starring intently over the raised cover board and at the dry earth below. There lying side by side were two worm snakes one of which was definitely unusual. Neither one of us had seen anything like it so we could only specualte what it could be. The one snake was definitely smaller and pink above and very pink below as opposed to the larger worm snake that had the normal brown dorsum with pink ventral side.
A draft of the VHS Field Note Entry is shown below:
Carphophis amoenus amoenus (Eastern Wormsnake) VA: Fairfax County, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 5040 Walney Rd., Chantilly, VA 20151 (38 51.7°N,-77 26.0 °W). 22 April, 2012. Michael Gregory and Mark Khosravi
Coloration: On 22 April, 2012 at 11:43AM an albino Eastern Wormsnake (Carphophis a. amoenus) was discovered in mixed cedar and hardwoods section along the Walney tract of area of Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. The specimen was found alongside a wild type worm snake under the same coverboard. Classic albinism was exhibited including red/pink eyes and a lack of any pigmentation except for a light yellowish coloration around the edges of the dorsal scales.
Albinism in Carphophis amoenus amoenus has been previously reported in Arlington County, VA (Allard, H. A. 1945. A color variant of the eastern worm snake. Copeia 1945:42) and in James City County, VA (Somma, Matthew. 2012. Field Notes – Coloration, Catesbeiana Volume 32 Number 1).
Photographs were deposited with the VHS Digital Archive (#213) as a voucher. The animal was released after photos were taken.
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