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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Joseph C Mitchell


The cartilage formation and subsequent ossification of the brown watersnake, Nerodia taxispilota is described in detail. Comparisons are made to the black rat snake, Elaphe obsoleta. The sequence of development corresponds closely to this species. Three morphological differences are noted, however. In Nerodia the the occipital arches fail to meet as in Elaphe, there appear to be two centers of ossification in the prefrontal bone, unlike the singular center found in Elaphe, and in Nerodia there is found a carotid fenestra rather than a carotid incisure. Additionally, there is no evidence of secondary cartilage formation in Neordia taxispilota.