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RE: Venomous snakes of N. America

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Posted by: CKing at Thu May 15 19:28:22 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by CKing ]  
   

>>It seems that it should be rather easy to find out how many species of snakes are venomous in North America. However I cant get a number. Does anyone here know how many native species of venomous snake we have?
>>
>>Thanks:
>>JasonMc
>>

Actually it is anything but easy. It all depends on how one defines "species." Some taxonomists consider practically every geographically isolated population a different species (the so-called 'Evolutionary Species Concept') or every mtDNA lineage as a different species, whereas other taxonomists are more conservative and only count species according to the Biological Species Concept.

And there has also been a dispute on the definition of venomous as well. There are some garter snake bites that have been known to produce toxic effects, and some of these can be attributed to allergic reactions to the bites. Nevertheless, there is an attempt to label these snakes "venomous" because of the toxic effects of their bites. Without an agreement on definitions of venomous and species, one can never arrive at a consensus as to how many venomous species are found in the United States.


   

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