State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Zamenis longissimus (Laurenti, 1768)

  • Natrix longissima Laurenti, 1768
  • Coluber aesculapi Lacepede, 1789
  • Coluber longissima Laurenti, 1768
  • Coluber sellmani Donndorff, 1798
Vernacular Name
Aesculapian Ratsnake
Conservation status
IUCN: LC; Be (II); EUHD (IV); CarpRL: EN; RDBUkr: Зникаючі; RDBUkrCarp: NT
Value of species
This species is included in Zamenis following Utiger et al. (2002). Zamenis lineatus was separated from this species by Lenk and Wuster (1999). According to Montori and Llorente (2005), the correct name should be Zamenis longissimus. Two subspecies are recognized: Z. l. longissimus (Laurenti, 1768) is widely distributed in Western, Central and Southern Europe, except in Southern Italy and Sicily which are inhabited by Z. lineatus. Z. l. rechingeri Werner, 1932 is found in the Larger Cyclades islands, in particular on Amorgos. Elaphe longissima romana (Suckow, 1798) is probably a synonym of both Z. longisimus and Z. lineatus. This species ranges from its southern limits in northern Spain and central southern Italy, through much of France (except the north and parts of the southwest), southeastern and western Germany (north to Hessen, where it occurs as very fragmented most of the south), to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary and much of the Balkan region. Populations in the Cantabrian Mountains (Spain), western Germany, western Czech Republic, and southern Ukraine are isolated from the main range, and it is possibly localized in Romania and Moldova. It is also present in northern Turkey, western Georgia, southern Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran. It may occur in southern Poland although this requires confirmation. The species has been extinct in Denmark for around 200 years. It ranges from 60 to 2,000 m asl. Albania; Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Romania; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine. It is found in dry, open woodlands (deciduous, mixed and coniferous), woodland edges, forested ravines, scrubland and thickets, rocky outcrops, road embankments, moist meadows, field edges, traditionally cultivated land, tea plantations, stone walls and old buildings, parks and gardens. The females produce a single clutch of two to 18 eggs in July (Caucasus).
Book reference
  • Літопис природи. Природний заповідник «Розточчя». 2018, т.32. – Івано-Франкове, 2019. – 000 с.
  • Vikyrchak O.K., Smirnov N.A. New Record of the Aesculapian Snake, Zamenis longissimus (Reptilia, Colubridae), in Ternopil’ Region (Ukraine) // Vestnik zoologii. – 2014. – Vol.48, iss.5. – P.478.
    View source

Taxonomic branch