Content Author Object Flagger Flag Created Reason Resolved by Resolution
loarie Eastern/Gray Ratsnake Complex (Complex Pantherophis alleghaniensis) sandboa Fri, 14 May 2021 04:30:10 AM UTC

recent evidence suggest changes are needed in this group.

Not Resolved


Recent publications by Burbrink and Hillis (separately) change the boundaries between these species and reassign the eastern ratsnakes to the species P. quadrivittatus. We will have to evaluate these new arrangements when the publications finally come out.

Posted by sandboa over 2 years ago

The three valid names for ratsnakes under the three species model are :
P. quadrivittatus - striped species in FL and along the SE coast into the carolinas
P. alleghaniensis - above the fall line in the east all they way down to the gulf coast
P. obsoleta - the western species

Pantherophis spiloides is a junior synonym of alleghaniensis.

Posted by sandboa over 2 years ago

Just curious if anything is going to happen on this. I agree that the revision looks good.

Posted by wildlander almost 2 years ago

I have contacted the RD to see if/when they plan in making this change.

The other relevant paper, for those interested is

Posted by sandboa over 1 year ago

Peter at RD has said that this change is in the works.

There is another relevant discussion by Burbrink et al here - Herpetological Review, 2021, 52(3), 537–547

I think the two options are a four species model:

P. alleghanienis
P. quadrivittatus
P. obsoletus
P. bairdii

or a three species (two subspecies) model.

P. alleghaniensis alleghaniensis
P. alleghaniensis quadrivittatus
P. obsoletus
P. bardii

The latter seems more sensible based on the degree of introgression between the first two taxa, but I suspect the RD will follow Burbrink 2021 and use the four species model.

Posted by sandboa over 1 year ago

Here is a link to the aforementioned change from the publication. I agree this taxonomy should be changed based of very sound evidence.

Posted by trans-pecos-herpe... over 1 year ago

I think we may want to wait a bit on this change based on the recent POV discussion by Hillis
(Herpetological Review, 2022, 53(1), 47–53.)

Posted by sandboa over 1 year ago

Reptile Database just lumped
Pantherophis spiloides -> Pantherophis alleghaniensis
and added
Pantherophis quadrivittatus
my preference is to follow them - anyone opposed?

Posted by loarie 2 months ago

Obviously I've been in support of this change from the beginning, so I wholeheartedly agree with following them.

My only question would be the common names. I think using "Central Ratsnake" for P. alleghaniensis which has been the "Eastern Ratsnake" for the last 20 years is not sensible nor consistent. It should remain the "Eastern Ratsnake" not only for historical consistency but also for geographical logic (it occurs further east than quadrivittatus).

I think it makes much more sense to use the name "Yellow Ratsnake" for P. quadrivittatus because it is more consistent historically and geographically.

Since SSAR is on hiatus and we don't have an ETA for the 9th edition SSAR list, I think this move would make sense and be defensible at this time.

Posted by sandboa 2 months ago

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