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RE: Help on Scientific name and the law

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Posted by: aspidoscelis at Sat Jan 27 14:58:30 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by aspidoscelis ]  
   

"The Pantherophis obsoletus sub-species were done away with. They were all merged into one of 3 species based on geographical location. Eastern (alleghaniensis), Midland (spiloides), Western (obsoleus)... some like the black rat and gray rat are now part of all three groups as it's a geographical based breakdown.

If I remember correctly, the merger was...

P. obsoletus - Western Rats were made up from: P. o. spiloides, P. o. lindheimerii, P. o. obsoletus

P. spiloides - Midland Rats were made up from: P. o. obsoletus, P. o. spiloides

P. alleghaniensis - Eastern Rats were made up from: P. o. obsoletus, P. o. quadrivittata, P. o. rossalleni, P. o. spiloides"

Frank Burbrink, who made these changes, did not recognize the genus Pantherophis. So names like "Pantherophis allegheniensis" and "Pantherophis spiloides" have never been formally proposed, to my knowledge. In deciding on legitimate names here, then, you can either accept Burbrink's species, or accept Pantherophis, but not both.

In any case, Burbrink's species are nonsense, as has been discussed on the forum before; and as a result, Pennsylvania has apparently created laws that are to some extent unenforcable. Phenotypically "pure" yellow or Everglades rat snakes would be unquestionably E. allegheniensis (but would also be unquestionably not native to PA) but other members of this group, probably including hybrids between yellow rats and other forms, are not identifiable to species without either a known geographic origin or mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Patrick Alexander


   

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