New York Natural Heritage Program
Eastern Wormsnake
Carphophis amoenus (Say, 1825)
Reptiles

Habitat [-]
Although little specific habitat data exists for this species (Ernst et al. 1997 in Orr 2006), wormsnakes are reported to live in moist (mesic) forests (Gibbs et al. 2007, NatureServe 2007) and drier forests may also be inhabited (McLeod and Gates 1998). This species is often found under rocks, bark slabs, logs, leaves, or other forest litter in a variety of habitats (Barbour 1960 in Orr 2006), often along edges or ecotones (NatureServe 2007). In southern New York, particularly in the Hudson Highlands, it may be found in or near rocky summit communities or similar habitats (e.g., powerline right-of-ways through deciduous forest). It is likely present in the forests surrounding these areas, but additional habitat data is needed. Wormsnakes are also found in sandy areas, such as dry pitch pine habitats on Long Island and in the Albany Pine Bush.

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Appalachian oak-hickory forest
    A hardwood forest that occurs on well-drained sites, usually on ridgetops, upper slopes, or south- and west-facing slopes. The soils are usually loams or sandy loams. This is a broadly defined forest community with several regional and edaphic variants. The dominant trees include red oak, white oak, and/or black oak. Mixed with the oaks, usually at lower densities, are pignut, shagbark, and/or sweet pignut hickory.
  • Chestnut oak forest
    A hardwood forest that occurs on well-drained sites in glaciated portions of the Appalachians, and on the coastal plain. This forest is similar to the Allegheny oak forest; it is distinguished by fewer canopy dominants and a less diverse shrublayer and groundlayer flora. Dominant trees are typically chestnut oak and red oak.
  • Oak-tulip tree forest
    A hardwood forest that occurs on moist, well-drained sites in southeastern New York. The dominant trees include a mixture of five or more of the following: red oak, tulip tree, American beech, black birch, red maple, scarlet oak, black oak, and white oak.
  • Pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit
    A community that occurs on warm, dry, rocky ridgetops and summits where the bedrock is non-calcareous (such as quartzite, sandstone, or schist), and the soils are more or less acidic. This community is broadly defined and includes examples that may lack pines and are dominated by scrub oak and/or heath shrubs apparently related to fire regime.

Associated Species [-]
  • Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus)