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RE: Abbreviated response

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Posted by: SunHerp at Fri Jan 11 19:04:43 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by SunHerp ]  
   

In my rat snake example, then, we should value saving the yellow rat as much as the gray. I'll agree to that.

Exactly! The diversity is important.


There are something like 24 subspecies of L.t. Does this seem accurate, or would you have higher numbers of subspecies, or different species all together?

Honestly, probably not. One of the greatest criticisms of Williams' work was that he "over-split" and recognized a number of subspecies based on a dozen or less specimens. Frank Blanchard, many years back, was probably closer with his recognition of far fewer forms, including some that he speculated were part of the triangulum group, but gave them species status because he lacked the evidence to include them under that umbrella (polyzona and micropholis are examples).

It seems hard to imagine that a black milksnake is not taxonomically more distinct than say a Nelson's.

I'm not sure if "more" is an appropriate term. The coloration is super plastic in Lampropeltine Colubrids. Genetic analysis shows that L. t. gaigeae is VERY closely related to adjacent subspecies stuarti and micropholis (surprise, surprise), but is virtually indistinguishable, at a molecular level, from the latter. A melanin overwash is a feature of the species of Micrurus that is sympatric with gaigeae.

There are multiple clades (evolutionarily cohesive groups) within the Lampropeltis triangulum group. Whether these should be designated as the "real" subspecies or given full species status is currently being investigated.

Myself, Dell Despain, and Jeff Hardwick with a L. t. syspila


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-Cole


   

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<< Previous Message:  RE: Abbreviated response - captainjack0000, Fri Jan 11 17:26:36 2013