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RE: Current taxonomy: southern pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus)

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Posted by: WW at Tue Jun 8 04:09:17 2004  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by WW ]  
   

>>What is the current taxonomy for the southern pacific rattlesnake, formerly Crotalus viridis helleri? I heard that there was a change to C. oreganus helleri and that there was a suggestion that the southern pac should be upgraded to species status, becoming C. helleri. My question is, did C. helleri become official, will it, and if not, is it still C. o. helleri?

There is no such thing as an "official" classification - it depends what you think of the evidence presented.

Pook et al. (2000) suggested that all the western forms except cerberus should be part of oreganus, Ashton (2001) formally proposed this (but included cerberus as a ssp. of oreganus), and Douglas et al. (2002) regarded most of the ex-subspecies of viridis as separate species. See a summary of findings on my page (linked to below). So, depending on whether you are more conviced by the arguments of Ashton & de Queiroz or those of Douglas et al. , you will either recognise helleri as a separate species or as a ssp.

In the subsequent literature, Campbell & Lamar (2004) recognise helleri as a ssp. of oreganus, as do Crother et al. in their 2003 update of their List of Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico. There is certainly evidence of a zone of intergradation betwee the two.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

WW
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