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RE: weighing in on whipsnake taxonomy

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Posted by: Royreptile at Sun Jun 8 16:31:08 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Royreptile ]  
   

There aren't very many good sources of information concerning coachwhips. Though I have found www.reptilesofaz.com to be of some help with the three westernmost subspecies (C.f.piceus, C.f.lineatulus, and C.f.cingulum).
It seems that almost all of the European specimens are Western coachwhips (C.f.testaceus). At this point I can easily differentiate between all of the coachwhips, though I know the least about lineatulus as information for that subspecies is uncommon.

It seems that the Red coachwhip (C.f.piceus) is easily identified as often having many bands surrounding the first half to two thirds of the body, and many also exhibit a black band or two around the neck. Range for this subspecies is throughout Southern California and Arizona. Generally, coloration for this subspecies is red or tan, but occasionally solid black individuals occur in Arizona. This is exemplified by the many specimens at this link (http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/pages/m.f.piceus.html).

The San Joaquin coachwhip (C.f.ruddocki) is not legally kept in captivity as it is a protected species throughout its range in the Central Valley of California and I know of none in private collections. Here's a link for this species (http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/pages/m.f.ruddocki.html).

The Baja California coachwhip (C.f.fuliginosus) is extremely rare in captive collections, though I do remember seeing one for sale in the classifieds a few years back. It is similar in appearance to the Red coachwhip, but generally exhibits black coloration as opposed to red or tan. Its range enters extreme Southern California and spreads throughout Baja. Here's a link (http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/pages/m.fuliginosus.html).

The Sonoran coachwhip (C.f.cingulum) is found in Southeastern Arizona. It is generally red or pink in coloration, and often seems to have darker, wide bands along its body. In parts of Arizona this subspecies creates intergrades with piceus and possibly lineatulus. I don't know of this subspecies in captivity, but it is accessible for captive propagation as it is not protected. Here's a link to a nice photograph of this subspecies (http://www.reptilesofaz.com/Graphics/Snakes/MASFLAC-SRV6.jpg)

The Lined coachwhip (C.f.lineatulus) is also found in Southeastern Arizona. Little is known of this subspecies, or at least little is written of them, but all specimens I have seen photographed are a uniform tan or brown color. Here's a link leading to a photograph of this subspecies (http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_fauna_sci-Reptile&enlarge=0000 0000 1006 0097).

The Western coachwhip (C.f.testaceus) is perhaps the most diverse subspecies - and the most common in captivity. Red, pink, brown, tan, and brown are the most common color phases seen with this species and occasionally combinations of these colors are seen. Occasionally, specimens are tan or brown with wide red bands, but most are a single uniform color. This subspecies is widespread across Texas, north into Colorado and even Nebraska, and west into Eastern New Mexico. This link exhibits just some of the variation encountered with this subspecies (http://www.geocities.com/eriks_snake_lifelist/m_f_testaceus.html).

Lastly, the Eastern coacwhip (C.f.flagellum), which is found in the Southeastern United States, from Texas to Florida and the Carolinas. It is the largest of the coachwhips, and exhibits brown, black, or tan coloration - often a combination of the three. It is not uncommon in captivity. Here's a link (
http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-guide/Masticophisfflagellum.htm).

I apologize about the size and scope of this post, but I do hope it provides some clarification.
-----
Roy Blodgett
Green Man Herpetoculture
royreptile@yahoo.com

1.1 Drymarchon corais
2.2 Pseustes sulphureus
1.1 Pseustes poecilonotus poecilonotus
1.1 Lystrophis pulcher
1.1 Lampropeltis getula californiae (desert phase)
1.1 Boiga dendrophila dendrophila
2.3 Pogona vitticeps (snow and red/gold)
1.0 Iguana iguana


   

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