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Making sense of ratsnake taxonomy

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Posted by: MikeMurphy at Fri Sep 20 08:33:45 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by MikeMurphy ]  
   

With all the changes in obsoletus ratsnake taxonomy over the years, I'm a bit confused as to what is the currently accepted nomenclature. From what I've seen, most people have accepted, for the most part, "Pantherophis" over "Elaphe" for the genus. But then some still cling to the old taxonomy of obsoletus with multiple subspecies. While others now split the subspecies (black, gray, texas, yellow) into geographic variations of just two species: allegenhiensis and obsoletus. Do I have that right? I've also seen a third, spiloides.

I'm confused What seems to be the most commonly accepted rule these days? It's hard to wrap my head around the idea that a "black" rat snake from Kansas is really a gray. Just seems like there isn't general agreement on this. Even the range map on the Ratsnake Foundation website looks similar to the one in Conant's Field Guide; the only really difference is replacing "Elaphe" with "Pantherophis".

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Mike


   

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>> Next Message:  You are not alone in confusion! - Ameron, Fri Sep 20 10:19:43 2013
>> Next Message:  RE: Making sense of ratsnake taxonomy - Splitfire59, Fri Sep 20 17:42:35 2013