The NEW SPECIES of Rattlesnake the Internet Discovered

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HERP.MX
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The NEW SPECIES of Rattlesnake the Internet Discovered

Post by HERP.MX » May 16th, 2016, 6:05 am

The NEW SPECIES of Rattlesnake the Internet Discovered

From the ability to scout new locations via Google Earth (and even Google Street View) to being able to quickly access most sites on passable roads, herping in México has become significantly easier in the past 20 years. For better or worse, long gone are the days of localities reported in "mule-days" and the internet has pushed the speed of information dissemination into overdrive.

The story starts in February 2008 on a rattlesnake-centric internet forum called "The Den Site". Wes Horner had returned from a trip to central Mexico where he had stumbled upon an unidentified rattlesnake and snapped a few photos. 30 years ago that might of been the end of it — a few photos lost in the album from the trip — but this was 2008 and the digital photos were then forwarded to his friend, Chad Whitney. Chad posted them to the Den Site where the identification was debated. While the photos appeared to be of a Crotalus triseriatus armstrongi or C. pusillus type snake; the locality was well east of the range for either species. The snake remained unidentified; but plans were made to survey the area with the start of the rainy season.

In May of that same year the HERP.MX team met Rob Bryson at the Guadalajara airport. Rob was already working with the Crotalus triseriatus group, and mtDNA from a specimen with questionable locality data suggested there really might be a Crotalus pusillus type snake in the center of the country (http://www.herp.mx/pubs/2011-Bryson-Cro ... -Group.pdf). So we set off for Estado de México to see if the snake Wes had photographed might represent the same species.

We drove through the night and arrived in the foothills of our destination early the next morning. It was immediately clear that we had misread the weather maps and the humid pine-oak forest we were expecting was, at the time, more of a dust bowl. Undeterred, we started our drive up the mountain and had come into a clearing when we noticed some road-side logs. We opted to quickly roll a few “just in case”, which proved to be a good decision when two rattlesnakes were uncovered, including the gravid adult female shown here.

To make an even longer story shorter: the trip continued, additional specimens were found, more trips were made, DNA samples were processed, and eventually the world was introduced to Crotalus tlaloci (http://www.herp.mx/pubs/2014-Bryson-triseriatus.pdf). Thanks internet!

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Calfirecap
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Re: The NEW SPECIES of Rattlesnake the Internet Discovered

Post by Calfirecap » May 16th, 2016, 7:09 am

Another great find, keep up the good work!
Tiny little rattle on that thing, at least it appears as such.

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