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Pantherophis...alleghaniensis, or...?!??

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Posted by: Deathstalker at Wed May 30 00:33:37 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Deathstalker ]  
   

Hello,

My name is Timothy, and I am from Western Massachusetts. I have kept snakes for ~20.5 years since 11/21/1991 and have lived up here my whole 28-year life. I am very familiar with my native 14 species of snakes, and taxonomy and (natural!) genetics (-in general; id est, not just native animals) were always my specialty...until I became lazy to keep up. :P

First, I just want to confirm my former Elaphe obsoleta ["Black Rat Snake"] became Pantherophis alleghaniensis ["Eastern Rat Snake"] ~10 years ago, correct? And there are currently nine (9) species in the genus Pantherophis? (I don't care about subspecies at the moment.) These links agree:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantherophis
http://www.ssarherps.org/pages/comm_names/Pantherophis_main.php

According to this awesome DVD I have on ALL 52 species of herps that breed in New England, Rattlers, Peepers & Snappers (Copyright 2008), it is Pantherophis alleghaniensis, and I'd think herpetologists of New England would know best. But I admit I often turn to Wikipedia among a few other sites for validation, and these pages:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantherophis_obsoletus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantherophis_alleghaniensis

...perplex me! What slammed the brakes on this one is that both pages state the same range! I understand that Pantherophis obsoletus, P. alleghaniensis, and P. spiloides were made three separate species by Burbrink in 2001, and they should be, but on the second link, it says, "Pantherophis alleghaniensis has sometimes been considered a subspecies of Pantherophis obsoletus, to which it is closely..." and just stops there...!

So, was my native "Black Rat Snake" initially Pantherophis obsoletus alleghaniensis but now full species status: P. alleghaniensis? And then, on http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/species_info/nhfacts/pantherophis_alleghaniensis.pdf, it states the "Eastern Rat Snake" is P. alleghaniensis with five (5!) subspecies: the Black, Gray, Yellow, Texas, and Everglades...?!?? It makes no sense, they're too different to be subspecies. Id est, the Gray, Yellow, Texas, and Everglades cannot all be P. a. ssp....! They should be five (5) separate species, thus, with five different binomials...

I don't know, this is the most messed up taxonomy I've ever seen.

This page: http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Pantherophis&species=alleghaniensis just confuses me even more to where I couldn't even finish reaidng it!

I anxiously await any and all input. Thanks much!!

Sincerely,
Timothy
-----
T.J. Gould


   

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>> Next Message:  RE: Pantherophis...alleghaniensis, or...?!?? - AlexNevgloski, Thu May 31 16:22:50 2012
>> Next Message:  RE: Pantherophis...alleghaniensis, or...?!?? - foxturtle, Fri Jun 1 12:20:17 2012
>> Next Message:  Wikipedia article was helpful - Ameron, Mon Jul 30 13:26:33 2012