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© Rune Midtgaard

Taxonomy of the family Colubridae
Bibliography of the genus Pantherophis
Biodiversity of the family Colubridae


North American Rat Snakes, (Racers)

Nordamerikanische Kletternattern

Nordamerikanske Rottesnoge

1843 Pantherophis Fitzinger (type species: Coluber guttatus Linnaeus 1766)
1853 Scotophis Baird in Baird & Girard (type species: Scotophis alleghaniensis Holbrook 1836)
2008 Mintonius Collins & Taggart (type species: Scotophis vulpinus Baird & Girard 1853)
Contents: 9 species, of which 5 (55.6%) are endemic.
Endemism: 0% 100%
Remarks: Previously included in the genus Elaphe (e.g., Schulz 1996). Revalidated by Utiger, Helfenberger, Schätti, Schmidt, Ruf & Ziswiler (2002). Scotophis was recognized as a valid genus by Collins & Taggart (2008).
Distribution: E. and C. North America.
Reported from: Canada (Ontario), Mexico (Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Veracruz), USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin).

Pantherophis alleghaniensis

Eastern Rat Snake, (Black Rat Snake, Pilot Black Snake, Chicken Snake)

Ostamerikanische Kletternatter

Østamerikansk Rottesnog, Sort Rottesnog, Gul Rottesnog (quadrivittatus), Orange Rottesnog (rossalleni)

1836 Scotophis alleghaniensis Holbrook
Elaphis alleghaniensis Hallowell 1856
Elaphe alleghaniensis Burbrink 2001
Pantherophis alleghaniensis Christensen 2008
Scotophis alleghaniensis Collins & Taggart 2008
1836 Coluber quadrivittatus Holbrook (Burbrink 2001)
Elaphis quadri-vittatus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril 1854
Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata Neill 1949
1853 Scotophis confinis Baird & Girard (Burbrink 2001)
1854 Elaphis holbrookii Duméril, Bibron & Duméril (Wallach, Williams & Boundy 2014)
1888 Coluber obsoletus lemniscatus Cope [part] (Burbrink 2001)
1932 Elaphe quadrivittata deckerti Brady (Burbrink 2001)
1949 Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni Neill (Burbrink 2001)
1940 Elaphe williamsi Barbour & Carr (Burbrink 2001)
1942 Elaphe quadrivittata parallela Barbour & Engels (Burbrink 2001)

Other common names:
quadrivittata: Yellow Rat Snake
rossalleni: Everglades Rat Snake
williamsi: Gulf Hammock Rat Snake
Remarks: Previously regarded as a synonym of obsoletus (e.g., Schmidt 1953). Revalidated as a separate species by Burbrink (2001).
Introduced to: Bahamas (Little Bahama Bank), Martinique, South Africa (Gauteng).
Distribution: USA (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C.).

Pantherophis alleghaniensis
© Rune Midtgaard

Pantherophis bairdi

Rio Grande Rat Snake, (Baird's Rat Snake)


Rio Grande-rottesnog, (Bairds Rottesnog)

1880 Coluber bairdi Yarrow
Elaphe bairdi Stejneger & Barbour 1917
Elaphe obsoleta bairdi Dowling 1952
Pantherophis bairdi Utiger, Helfenberger, Schätti, Schmidt, Ruf & Ziswiler 2002
Scotophis bairdi Collins & Taggart 2008

Remarks: Revalidated as a separate species by Olson (1977).
Distribution: Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas), USA (Texas).

Pantherophis bairdi
© Rune Midtgaard

Pantherophis emoryi

Great Plains Rat Snake



1853 Scotophis emoryi Baird & Girard
Coluber emoryi Cope 1886
Elaphe emoryi Dowling 1951
Elaphe guttata emoryi Dowling 1952
Pantherophis emoryi Potts & Collins 2005
1859 Scotophis calligaster Kennicott (Burbrink 2002)
1860 Coluber rhinomegas Cope (Schmidt 1953; Burbrink 2002)
1942 Elaphe laeta intermontanus Woodbury & Woodbury (Schmidt 1953; Burbrink 2002)
1994 Elaphe guttata meahllmorum Smith, Chiszar, Staley & Tepedelen (Burbrink 2002)
Pantherophis emoryi meahllmorum Lemos-Espinal & Smith 2007

Other common names:
meahllmorum: Southwestern Ratsnake
Remarks: Revalidated as a separate species by Burbrink (2002). The taxon meahllmorum is considered either a synonym (e.g., Burbrink 2002) or a subspecies (e.g., Lemos-Espinal & Smith 2007) of emoryi. In older literature (e.g., Boulenger 1894; Stejneger & Barbour 1917, 1943), emoryi was referred to under the name laeta, which later (Dowling 1951) was shown to be a synonym of obsoletus. Not mentioned for Queretaro by Cruz-Elizalde, Ramírez-Bautista, Hernández-Salinas, Berriozabal-Islas & Wilson (2019).
Distribution: Mexico (Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Veracruz), USA (Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah).

Pantherophis guttatus

Red Corn Snake

Rote Kornnatter, Kornnatter

Rød Kornsnog

1766 Coluber guttatus Linnaeus
Elaphis guttatus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril 1854
Pantherophis guttatus Utiger, Helfenberger, Schätti, Schmidt, Ruf & Ziswiler 2002
1790 Coluber maculatus Bonnaterre (Smith, Chiszar, Staley & Tepedlen 1994; Burbrink 2002)
1802 Coluber carolinianus Shaw (Schmidt 1953; Schwartz & Henderson 1988; Burbrink 2002)
1820 Coluber pantherinus Merrem (Schmidt 1953; Burbrink 2002)
1827 Coluber floridanus Harlan (Schmidt 1953; Burbrink 2002)
1888 Coluber guttatus sellatus Cope (Schmidt 1953; Burbrink 2002)
1888 Coluber rosaceus Cope (Burbrink 2002)
Elaphe rosacea Barbour 1920
Elaphe guttata rosacea Neill 1949

Other common names:
rosacea: Rosy Rat Snake
Remarks: Previously included emoryi and populations now assigned to slowinskii.
Introduced to: Anguilla (Anguilla Island), Antigua & Barbuda (Antigua), Bahamas (Little Bahama Bank), Brazil (Bahia), British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman), Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, South Africa (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape), Turks & Caicos Islands (Turks Islands), U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix).
Distribution: USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia).

Pantherophis guttatus
© Rune Midtgaard

Pantherophis obsoletus

Western Rat Snake

Westamerikanische Erdnatter, Kükennatter, (Erdnatter)

Vestamerikansk Rottesnog

1823 Coluber obsoletus Say
Elaphis obsoletus Garman 1883
Elaphe obsoleta Stejneger & Barbour 1917
Pantherophis obsoletus Utiger, Helfenberger, Schätti, Schmidt, Ruf & Ziswiler 2002
Scotophis obsoletus Collins & Taggart 2008
1853 Scotophis laetus Baird & Girard (Dowling 1951; Burbrink 2001)
Elaphe laeta Stejneger & Barbour 1917
1853 Scotophis lindheimeri Baird & Girard (Burbrink 2001)
Elaphis obsoletus lindheimerii Garman 1883
Coluber obsoletus lindheimeri Brown 1901
Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri Stejneger & Barbour 1917

Other common names:
lindheimeri: Texas Rat Snake
obsoleta: Black Rat Snake
Remarks: Previously included alleghaniensis and spiloides.
Introduced to: USA (Florida).
Distribution: USA (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas).

Pantherophis ramspotti

Western Fox Snake

Westliche Fuchsnatter

Vestlig Rævesnog

2011 Pantherophis ramspotti Crother, White, Savage, Eckstut, Graham & Gardner

Remarks: This species corresponds to the western half of the populations of the former understanding of vulpina (see remarks there).
Distribution: USA (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota).

Pantherophis slowinskii

Kisatchie Corn Snake, (Slowinski's Corn Snake)

Kisatchie-Kornnatter, Slowinski's Kornnatter


2002 Elaphe slowinskii Burbrink
Pantherophis slowinskii Jiang, Castoe, Austin, Burbrink, Herron, McGuire, Parkinson & Pollock 2007

Distribution: USA (Louisiana, Texas).

Pantherophis spiloides

Grey Rat Snake, Central Rat Snake

Graue Kletternatter

Grå Rottesnog

1854 Elaphis spiloides Dumeril, Bibron & Dumeril
Coluber obsoletus spiloides Cope 1888
Elaphe obsoleta spiloides Dowling 1952
Elaphe spiloides Burbrink 2001
Pantherophis obsoletus spiloides Schmidt & Kunz 2005
Pantherophis spiloides Crother, Boundy, Burbrink & Campbell in Crother (ed.) 2008
Scotophis spiloides Collins & Taggart 2008
1888 Coluber obsoletus lemniscatus Cope [part] (Burbrink 2001)

Remarks: Previously regarded as a subspecies of obsoletus (e.g., Dowling 1952). Revalidated as a separate species by Burbrink (2001).
Distribution: Canada (Ontario), USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin).

Pantherophis vulpinus

Eastern Fox Snake (previously known as Western Fox Snake, see remarks)

Östliche Fuchsnatter

Østlig Rævesnog

1853 Scotophis vulpinus Baird & Girard
Elaphe vulpinus Ruthven 1909
Pantherophis vulpinus Utiger, Helfenberger, Schätti, Schmidt, Ruf & Ziswiler 2002
Mintonius vulpinus Collins & Taggart 2008
1854 Elaphe rubriceps Duméril, Bibron & Duméril (Schmidt 1953)
1940 Elaphe vulpina gloydi Conant (Crother, White, Savage, Eckstut, Graham & Gardner 2011)
Elaphe gloydi Collins 1991
Pantherophis gloydi Schmidt & Kunz 2005
Mintonius gloydi Collins & Taggart 2008

Remarks: Crother, White, Savage, Eckstut, Graham & Gardner (2011) redefined species limits and distributions within the vulpina/gloydi/ramspotti group. They showed that the type specimens of vulpina and gloydi belong to the same form. However, their studies also showed that snakes from the western half of the distribution of the species until then known as the Western Fox Snake (vulpina) represented a separate species, which they described as ramspotti. Consequently, ramspotti corresponds to the western half of the former concept of vulpina, whereas the current vulpina corresponds to the eastern half of the populations of the former vulpina as well as the taxon formerly known as gloydi.
Distribution: Canada (Ontario), USA (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin).