The World's Smallest Crotalus

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HERP.MX
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The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by HERP.MX » July 20th, 2016, 5:46 am

The World's Smallest Crotalus

Mexico's rattlesnake diversity spans from arguably the largest Crotalus, C. basiliscus, to one of the smallest, Crotalus pricei miquihuanus. The beautiful specimen shown here was born 10 days ago to parents from near where the first specimen of C. p. miquihuanus was collected over a century ago.

In 1898 on June 14th during the historic Nelson-Goldman expedition (herp.mx/pubs/1951-Goldman-Biological-In ... Mexico.pdf) a small rattlesnake was secured in the hills surounding the town of Miquihuana on the dry slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental in the state of Tamaulipas. Four decades later, that specimen joined two others in the type series for Gloyd's description of Crotalus triseriatus miquihuanus in 1940 (herp.mx/pubs/1940-Gloyd-Crotalus-pricei-miquihuanus.pdf). Curiously, Miquihuana is not the type locality for C. p. miquihuanus since Gloyd designated a specimen from Cerro Potosi in neighboring Nuevo Leon as the holotype - presumably due to the poor condition of the preserved Tamaulipan snake. The subspecies was later assigned to C. pricei by Hobart Smith in 1946 (herp.mx/pubs/1946-Smith-Crotalus-triseriatus.pdf) and Klauber's careful analysis of additional Crotalus pricei specimens invalidated most of the characters Gloyd used to distinguish miquihuanus from pricei - though the eastern subspecies was still found to differ in ventral and prefrontal scale counts (herp.mx/pubs/1963-Axtell-Sabath-Crotalu ... ahuila.pdf)

A fourth specimen was collected on July 6, 1961 in extreme southeastern Coahuila, extending the range 30km to the north (herp.mx/…/1963-Axtell-Sabath-Crotalus-pricei-miquihuanus-Co…). Additional specimens were collected between known localities in the years that followed, and C. pricei is now known from several high elevation peaks in the the northern Sierra Madre Occidental.
Then in 2010, as part of an expedition in search of relictual populations of C. pricei, the HERP.MX Field Team located an isolated population on a remote mountain range in northern San Luis Potosi, adding a 4th state to the species distribution list. The following year, research by Robert Bryson on the entire intermedius group (Crotalus transversus, C. tancitarensis, C. pricei, and C. intermedius) suggested that the true relationships within C. pricei might vary considerably from what's currently accepted (herp.mx/pubs/2011-Bryson-Crotalus-intermedius-Group.pdf). Additional work on C. pricei is underway to help better understand those relationships.

Note: while neonate C. pricei miquihuanus are among the smallest Crotalus, the babies in some Sistrurus miliarius populations have been shown to be even smaller.

Image

- HERP.MX

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scottriv
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Re: The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by scottriv » July 20th, 2016, 6:28 am

That is cool!

How big is that Mexican coin in the pic compared to a US quarter?

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HERP.MX
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Re: The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by HERP.MX » July 20th, 2016, 6:49 am

MXN $10 measures 28.0 mm
USD $.25 measures 24.26 mm

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Jeff
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Re: The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by Jeff » July 20th, 2016, 11:03 am

That is a very nice historical background on an interesting snake.

Your website looks potentially interesting, but does not seem to consist of anything more than an announcement that it will amount to something.

Jeff

Richard F. Hoyer
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Re: The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 20th, 2016, 12:34 pm

Herp.Mx,
Do you have a stretched, total length for the small neonate? And is there a range of lengths available for snakes considered to be adult males and adult females?

Richard F. Hoyer

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Paul Freed
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Re: The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by Paul Freed » July 20th, 2016, 2:17 pm

Back in 1997, at the Houston Zoo Herpetology Department, we had a long-term captive female Western Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius streckeri) give birth to six live and two stillborn neonates. The smallest live newborn was 78 mm (total length) and weighed 0.8 grams. It looked and behaved normally (locomotion, tongue flicking, etc.) however, it died six days later. I wrote a brief note on this observation and included a photo of the snake in the Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society newsletter (Freed, P.S. 1997. Record Small Size for the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 32(2):27.) I would have included that photo here but unfortunately, I still can't figure out how to add images to posts on this website.
-Paul

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HERP.MX
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Re: The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by HERP.MX » July 21st, 2016, 4:14 am

Jeff wrote:That is a very nice historical background on an interesting snake.

Your website looks potentially interesting, but does not seem to consist of anything more than an announcement that it will amount to something.

Jeff
Hi Jeff, the primary website is still in the works, but the bulk of our updates can be found on social media, specifically on facebook: [url="http://facebook.com/herpmx]facebook.com/herpmx[/url]
Richard F. Hoyer wrote: Do you have a stretched, total length for the small neonate? And is there a range of lengths available for snakes considered to be adult males and adult females?
Hi Richard, not of this particular specimen, no - however that information is available in the lit. Campbell & Lamar's 2004 Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere is a good place to start.
Paul Freed wrote:Back in 1997, at the Houston Zoo Herpetology Department, we had a long-term captive female Western Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius streckeri) give birth to six live and two stillborn neonates. The smallest live newborn was 78 mm (total length) and weighed 0.8 grams. It looked and behaved normally (locomotion, tongue flicking, etc.) however, it died six days later. I wrote a brief note on this observation and included a photo of the snake in the Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society newsletter (Freed, P.S. 1997. Record Small Size for the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 32(2):27.) I would have included that photo here but unfortunately, I still can't figure out how to add images to posts on this website.
Fascinating! Unfortunately that does seem to be the fate of most "runts" - despite an outward appearance of being fully and perfectly developed, in most cases they seem to have some internal flaws that keep them from thriving.

-HERP.MX

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chrish
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Re: The World's Smallest Crotalus

Post by chrish » July 21st, 2016, 4:44 pm

This comes as a surprise to me? Is miquihuana really smaller than pricei on average? I've seen a total of one wild one, but it didn't seem particularly smaller than the dozens of pricei I've seen?


I would have included that photo here but unfortunately, I still can't figure out how to add images to posts on this website.
Paul,

All you need to do is have the image hosted online somewhere where you can generate the actual URL of the image. Herpmapper works fine for example or any of the online photo servers or even dropbox.

To find the image URL you can usually right clicking and choosing "Copy Image URL" or "Open Image in a New Tab" and copy the URL from the address bar there.

Then past the URL in your text here, select it and choose the Img link above.

So to see my image which is at address http://www.pbase.com/sandboa/image/112720168.jpg, I enter

Image

and the forum shows -
Image

You have way too many amazing herp images not to be able to share them here!

Chris

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