Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Jeffrey May

Third Advisor

Jayme Waldron


The Mountain Earthsnake, Virginia valeriae pulchra, has received little attention in the literature to date. It is imperiled in West Virginia with only 6 to 20 populations known throughout the Allegheny Mountain and Ridge and Valley Physiographic provinces. Eighty snakes were collected during the 2006 and 2007 summers. Typical habitat is open fields with short grass, flat to moderate slopes that have scattered fine sandstone rocks near a source of water and forest edge. Fine sandstone rocks were the primary cover objects used. Snakes were sexually dimorphic with males having longer tails expressed as a percent of total body lengths and females having longer total and snout-vent lengths. Virginia v. pulchra are active from April through September. Males were observed more in late spring and early summer while females were observed more in late summer and early fall. Snakes were diurnal and were found in higher numbers between 2:00-6:00 pm.


Snakes - West Virginia.